Dead man was in "perfect health"
Family of Kerwin "Slobby" Prosper who died in police custody is not pleased with police silence
A Kingshill family is not pleased with the information provided by police about their relative who died in police custody over the carnival holiday.
Kerwin "Slobby" Prosper, 36, of Kingshill died on February 15, 2021, whilst in Police custody assisting with an investigation.
Nearly three weeks later, the Police broke their silence.
Acting Chief of Police, Lincoln Corbette, disclosed that the Dominica Police Force had requested assistance from the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) in their investigation of Prosper's death.
On Saturday, February 13, 2021, Prosper was arrested by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in connection with several reports, Corbett said.
According to him, searches were conducted at the various locations where Prosper was known to be residing and a number of electronic items, clothing and an unspecified sum of money of interest to the police, were recovered during the course of the investigations.
"Sometime in the morning on Monday, February 15, 2021, Prosper complained of feeling unwell. He was taken to the Dominica China Friendship Hospital where he was examined and released back into police custody," Corbett said.
became unresponsive and was again transported via ambulance to the Hospital where he was pronounced dead by a medical doctor at 11:40 p.m., Corbett reported.
"That same evening, I appointed [the] Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a Kerwin Prosper. On February 18, 2021, an autopsy was conducted on the body of the deceased by the government pathologist, Dr. Alarcon," Corbette said.
He said upon receipt of the autopsy on March 2, 2021, and having considered "all things," he advised the Minister for National Security, Rayburn Blackmore, that external assistance should be requested to strengthen the investigation process.
"I wish, therefore, to inform that the Honorable Minister, as a matter of urgency on March 2, 2021, requested from CARICOM IMPACS through the Regional Investigative Management System [ROMS], assistance in that regard," he said.
Corbette said that the CARICOM investigation will strengthen the investigative process and will ensure that it is conducted in an "impartial and transparent manner, whilst supporting the police force in maintaining its "professional conduct, credibility, public confidence and trust in [the] handling of the investigative process."
"Let me state that contrary to speculations in the public domain, that this Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force stands committed to investigating all matters in keeping with its motto 'Fiat Justitiat' which means, Let Justice be done," the Acting Police Chief said. However, Prosper's family said they are displeased that the Chief made a public statement but has failed to respond to their request for basic information surrounding Prosper's death.
"We keep asking questions and we are getting no response. The autopsy was done since February 18th and we the family know nothing. We are being patient with the police but they are not telling us anything and the Chief is out in the media giving a statement but he has not contacted us," a family member who chose to have his man withheld, said.
As it relates to Prosper's health, he said, the deceased suffered from no underlying health condition and the day Prosper was arrested he was in "perfect health."
"When they came to arrest him in Kingshill, about 20 officers were present, some of whom had guns. When they left with him he was alright. From the Chief statement, we are only now finding out that he died on Monday because late afternoon on Carnival Tuesday that's when they informed us that he died and that is not right," the member of the family said.
In their pursuit of justice for Prosper, the family welcomes the assistance from CARICOM IMPACS but they too have consulted their attorney, Joshua Francis, to determine their next course of action.