Cops acquitted in Bottom Town ‘friendly fire’ shooting incident
November 1, 2013
Cops acquitted in Bottom Town ‘friendly fire’ shooting incident

The court case in which police officers Sergeant Julius Morgan and Constable Orlando Collins were charged with shooting another police officer, has been dismissed.{{more}}

Last Friday, Chief Magistrate Sonya Young dismissed the case and told the officers they were free to go.

However, Morgan, who has been on suspension with half month’s pay for the past seven months, says he is now unsure of his future as a law enforcement officer.

“I’m contemplating. I’m really not sure if I want to go back into the system,” he told SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday.

“I love law enforcement; it’s my job, and I really love it and I live my life on the line for the job but I’m not sure if I want to go back….”

Morgan and Collins were on trial since March 25, 2013, charged with unlawful and malicious wounding, unlawful discharging of a firearm, excessive use of force, acting in a manner so rash or so negligent as to be likely to cause harm to a person and conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.

The charges stemmed from a shooting incident at Rose Place, Kingstown, on December 5, 2012, that left Corporal Milford Edwards, a member of the Narcotics Unit (Drug Squad) with an injured shoulder.

According to reports, on December 5, 2012, police received an anonymous tip that a drug operation was being carried out on the beach at Rose Place, popularly known as Bottom Town. Members of different police units turned up, not knowing that other units had responded.

Although acquitted, Morgan said he felt unemotional when the chief magistrate made the announcement.

“When I went to court last Friday, I got there 9:06 a.m. and by 9:07 a.m. I was down the street walking.

“When I stepped in the box, the magistrate read the case and she said ‘the charges against you all are dismissed. You are free to go.’

“It wasn’t something that I was not expecting, because from the inception the shooting incident, the charges, the whole court trial for the past seven months, I don’t see the magistrate ruling against us in the first place,” Morgan said.

He described the incident as a clear accident, of miscommunication on behalf of the persons who relayed the information.

“You get information at 10 p.m. on a dark night at Bottom Town beach. Five different units responding to the same info, not knowing each other was there.

“That’s what led to the disaster in the first place and we are lucky that no one was killed during the incident.

“No one knew each other were there.

“The thing is the plain clothes officers are who got there first. Drug squad, they are plain clothes unit and the CID, plain clothes unit as well.

“Now you see a man in the dark with a gun, you say police and the person fiddling with his weapon. So, what am I supposed to do?” Morgan asked.

“So, there were no intent whatsoever, because after the guy got shot and we realize who it was, it was a whole different thing,” he added.

Morgan, who has served for the past 10 years in the police force, stated that the matter could have been resolved in a different manner.

He also revealed that he and Corporal Milford Edwards had been friends for about 20 years and they got along very well.

“There was no malice,” he said.

He, however, noted that the relationship between them has not been the same since the incident.

“We have spoken a few times since, but the relationship could never be the same.

“I am very sorry that the incident would have happened, but at the end of the day I personally believe that things could have been handled differently and should have been handled differently, instead of us being charged criminally. Because what was the intent?

“Of all the five charges, you know the one that got to me most was the conspiracy, because the public doesn’t have a clear idea as to what conspiracy really is in our case.

“Everybody has been asking me, why you all planned to shoot the man? And that really got to me, because I have an eight-year-old son and, on more than one occasion, persons have been meeting him and telling him that his father is going to jail just now.

“That really got to me because my son asked me, ‘Daddy, when you going to prison?’

Morgan said he expects to be fully reinstated as a police officer, but is unsure when that will happen. (AA)