The retired deputy police commissioner whose public statement was at the centre of a successful law suit filed against the Royal Barbados Police Force and the Attorney General’s office is defending his handling of the 2004 event.
On Friday, Bertie Hinds told Barbados TODAY that his hands were tied by the decisions of two high-profile government officials who refused his request for an independent investigation into the killing of an officer.
His comments follow the successful law suit filed by Police Constable Richard Garrett whose “friendly fire” was said to have killed his colleague Dexter Yarde in 2014 while the two were responding to a burglary.
It was initially suggested that the semi-automatic weapon fired by an assailant was responsible for killing Yarde. But during a press conference weeks later, Deputy Commissioner Hinds, citing a forensic examination, revealed that a shot to the head from Constable Garrett’s gun was responsible.
This explanation was later quashed during an inquiry into Yarde’s death and again by investigators from the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Hinds’ statements along with later statements from then Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin and Attorney General Dale Marshall implicating Garrett formed the basis of a defamation suit against the state.
On the heels of Friday’s report on the judgement, Hinds defended his statements claiming that after responding to the incident in 2004, he telephoned one of his superiors asking for an independent investigation from the Metrodade County Police in Miami.
According to his account Hinds was then instructed not to spend the state’s money in that way and was therefore forced to rely on the initial assessment of a police forensics officer.
“Feeling constrained in my professional and necessary approach to the matter and juxtaposed with the need to inform the public as to the preliminary circumstances surrounding Yarde’ s death, I reluctantly made the public statement in keeping with the forensic advice,” he explained.
The former deputy commissioner added: “It is ironic, that I, having been denied expending monies on an independent assessment, the substantive Commissioner Dottin was able to effect an independent assessment by the very Metrodade Country forensic facility.”
The successful High Court decision was published on Friday in another section of the press. According to the report, the high court ordered that damages be assessed and legal costs provided to the plaintiff.