BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – CONSTABLE Bijon Warner of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF), who was deemed a fugitive, is currently in police custody in the United States of America awaiting extradition.
This is according to Acting Commissioner of Police Hilroy Brandy who, when asked of the case against Constable Warner, said that it is ongoing.
“Presently, that officer is in US custody. We asked for extradition but we have to go through the normal proceedings in the United States. You know when it comes to immigration there is a heavy backlog in the United States, so it is taking its time and we are awaiting the completion of that in the United States.”
He was also asked when the officer was taken into custody, to which he replied: “I think it was late last year.”
Warner was being investigated by the Office of Professional Standards of the RSCNPF following a shooting incident that resulted in the death of his colleague, Commonwealth of Dominica-born Constable Brian Pacquette, and also for allegedly pistol-whipping a civilian.
Initial reports had stated that at about 1:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2016, while Constable Paquette and another rank had responded to a report of larceny in the Greenlands area, they had stopped an individual of interest in Prickle Pear Alley and decided to conduct a body search.
During the search, the officers reportedly found a knife in the man’s possession and they decided to take him into custody. A struggle however ensured among the three of them and the man allegedly grabbed Paquette’s service pistol from which a round was discharged and struck him in his right leg.
It was learnt that the other officer subdued the individual, whose name was given as Evron Williams. He was taken into custody at the Basseterre Police Station and later charged with attempting to make use of a firearm with intent to prevent lawful apprehension of himself.
Ironically, on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 29, 2016, the police had issued a release that read, “With regards to the incident which took place on Thursday June 23rd in Basseterre, the matter has been referred to the Office of Professional Standards and the injured officer is presently receiving further medical treatment overseas. We want to reassure the public that we will follow the procedure to the highest standard and will keep them informed of any developments as they occur.”
Though the release did not provide details on the shooting incident, it was logical to conclude that Warner was the perpetrator (maybe accidentally), as it is known that only disciplinary matters involving errant members of the RSCNPF are referred to the Office of Professional Standards.
This publication was told that when shot, Pacquette was bleeding profusely and his colleague had made several calls to get a unit from the Emergency Medical Services to transport him to the JNF Hospital, but those calls were futile. However, a police patrol vehicle had responded and took him to the medical institution.
He was warded at the JNF Hospital for approximately four days before being flown, via air ambulance, to Trinidad for advance medical treatment.
On Monday, July 4, 2016, SKNVibes had reported that following surgeries at the West Shore Medical Facility in the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, medical practitioners were forced to amputate Pacquette’s right leg.
However, despite their valiant efforts, Pacquette had succumbed to his injury on Monday, July 18, 2016.
Additionally, this publication was reliably informed that Constable Warner was involved in an altercation with one Gretson Isaac sometime in June 2017.
It is alleged that he had struck Isaac to the head with his service handgun, which left him unconscious and he had to seek treatment at the JN France Hospital.
A report was subsequently made and the police had launched an investigation into the matter.
SKNVibes had learnt that while under investigation, Constable Warner had left the Federation on two occasions; the first time for Barbados to obtain a visa, and the second time for the United States of America.
It was also learnt that prior to his departure to the US, he had submitted his resignation from the Force but it was rejected by the High Command.
The High Command had held a press conference on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 and a number of questions were posed by members of the local media.
Questioned by SKNVibes on the investigation into Constable Pacquette’s death, Superintendent Lyndon David said the matter “is still under investigation” and he invited Deputy Commissioner of Police Hilroy Brandy to elaborate on it.
“The gentleman is still with the organisation. To be frank, the gentleman has absconded and is presently in the United States. The police are doing the necessary due diligence to locate exactly where and to have a warrant to be issued and have him returned to the Federation to face justice,” Brandy said.
The Deputy Commissioner was asked the following questions: “SKNVibes learnt that the officer was also under investigation for allegedly gun-butting a male civilian who had to seek medical attention overseas. It was also learnt that he had travelled to Barbados, where he obtained a visa to the USA. Therefore, since he was under investigation for two incidents, why was he allowed to depart the Federation on two different occasions?"
In response, Brandy said: “We didn’t have that information that you just referred to, and the information asked for earlier concerning a citizen who was injured by the same officer...well, the Police Force is keeping him abreast. Just two weeks ago that said individual sat in my office along with ACP James and he was given a full disclosure of the progress of the investigation and he was quite satisfied with it.”
To this end, Commissioner of Police Ian Queeley said: “The matter is under investigation. You came with information that we don’t have. The information that we have is that the gentleman absconded, so it is not that he was given permission to travel. He absconded and the necessary action was taken and, yes, we have been in contact with our colleagues overseas and the matter is under investigation, simple as that.”