PHILIPSBURG–The family of the late Ossie Hosea Laville, who died suddenly in police custody one day after he was arrested, wants an autopsy performed on his body to determine his cause of death and has written to Justice Minister Anna Richardson on the matter.
The family is also concerned about the lack of answers and the treatment they are receiving from authorities. In a letter to Richardson, shared with the press on Thursday, Laville’s sister Caryle Etienne said Laville was arrested on Thursday, January 26. He had been detained by police and held at the Philipsburg Police Station from approximately 2:30pm on the day of his arrest. He was dead by Friday, January 27.
“When the National Detectives were contacted on Monday, January 31, 2023, by the sister of Mr. Ossie Hosea Laville for information, she was told by phone that the Prosecutor’s Office had closed the case,” the letter read.
“At this point no questions were answered by the National Detectives and with much insistence an appointment was made for Tuesday at 9:00am to meet in person. During this visit, we were informed that our presence at the National Detectives’ Department was merely to identify the body as the case was already closed and the Prosecutor’s Office would be responsible to answer any questions we have,” the letter continued.
“Sadly, we are now told that the Prosecutor will only see us on Tuesday, February 7, 2023. We remain very worried about this process and humbly, yet urgently, request your intervention in this matter so that our family and particularly the children of Mr. Ossie Hosea Laville can put this behind them, knowing that the widely spread rumours of systematic police brutality on St. Maarten is not the cause of his death.”
The family said that they have not accepted responsibility for Laville’s body and will not do so until they receive an autopsy report with the cause of death.
“We trust that you will understand our position as a mother and one with the political responsibility for justice in St. Maarten and now look forward to your action on the matter,” the letter concluded.
The letter was carbon copied to the Council of Ministers; Members of Parliament; the Governor of St. Maarten; the Prosecutor’s Office and all media.
Bron: Daily Herald