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Final Witness Testifies In Rolle Inquest

Jurors in the Coroner’s Inquest into Aaron Rolle’s death yesterday heard testimony from the matter’s last witness as well as closing arguments from attorneys.

Police Constable 1193 Kevin Thompson, who is attached to the Southern Police Station, was the last witness to take the stand.

Rolle died at the Southern Police Station on February 9.

A pathologist determined that he died from a ruptured intestine and haemorrhaging caused by blunt force trauma.

During his testimony Wednesday, Officer Thompson testified that he arrived to work at around 11:38 p.m. on February 8.

He said when he arrived to work he made checks on the five suspects who were at the station, including Rolle.

The witness said none of the suspects had any complaints and they all said that they were fine.

He said the only time he heard from Rolle was just before 7:00 a.m. on February 9 when he asked Corporal 2595 Dion Neely for some water.

Thompson said Rolle also asked to use the phone, but said that did not happen.

Thompson said he left the station and went to answer a complaint but when he returned Sergeant 634 Robert McKenzie told him that Rolle appeared to be dead and instructed him to check.

Thompson said he checked his pulse and confirmed he was dead.

Under cross examination from Christina Galanos, who represents Rolle’s family, Thompson backtracked and said he never left the station.

He also said that he didn’t make any entries in the police’s detention record regarding when he made checks on the suspects until around 6:00 a.m. on February 9.

Thompson also said he never heard Rolle breathing loudly, throwing up blood or going to the bathroom frequently.

The witness also confirmed that after Rolle died suspects told him that he had been complaining of being in pain all night.

He said the suspect told him that officers had beaten Rolle badly and that he had become sick.

The officer testified that Rolle’s cell mate – a Haitian national – was very vocal about it even though he could not speak English well.

Attorney Lennox Coleby, who represents the police officers in the matter, asked if it was customary that if he made the checks someone else would write the entry.

Thompson agreed.

The witness also said that he knew both Corporals 2648 Carl Smith and 2126 Akiel Smith for about five years and did not know them to beat any suspect.

The officers are on administrative leave in relation to Rolle’s custody death.

Both sides also gave closing arguments.

Ms. Galanos told jurors to use real life situations to determine what really happened at the Southern Police Station.

She suggested to jurors that Rolle had to have superhuman strength or be able to transform himself into a snake or lizard to escape through a window that had aluminium panels.

She asked jurors to recall that officers first testified that Rolle was “frail and weak” when officers first arrested him and later he appeared to be fine.

She suggested that Corporals 2848 Carl Smith and 2126 Akiel Smith want to use Rolle’s alleged escape as a justification for Rolle’s death.

She also suggested that the officers simply lost control.

Ms. Galanos said further that Rolle cried for medical attention but was ignored and was left to die in his cell.

In his closing arguments, Mr. Coleby suggested that Rolle was ill before he was picked up by police officers.

He said Rolle’s blood was never tested to prove otherwise.

He also said that the officers had a right to subdue Rolle because it was their duty to prevent his escape.

Coleby said Rolle’s other injuries like broken ribs and bruised ankles could have happened before he got into a scuffle with the officers, who were trying to thwart his escape.

“The question isn’t that Rolle was beaten, it is who did the beating,” Mr. Coleby said.

The matter continues before Acting Coroner Jeanine Weech Gomez on May 2.

Kendea Smith

Written by Kendea Smith

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