Gangs Carry Out Police Slayings of the Haitian National Police

The Haitian National Police (HNP), a fraught law enforcement agency, has come under fire in the past for human rights abuses, and for providing inadequate protection to cities like Port-au-Prince. The problems that plague the effectiveness of this agency are mainly inadequate funding and the infiltration of former members of the Haitian Army preying on the vulnerabilities of a chaotic and confused force. Allegations of some HNP members being involved in gang activity, in which summary killings take place, adds to the tarnished reputation of the police agency.

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Yet many police officers of the National Police sacrifice their lives in trying to deal with the violent gang element. Forty officers were slain both on- and off-duty in 2010. One of them, Agent II Luckner Sylvain of the Police Security Unit, who served as a member of Haiti President Michel Martelly's Presidential Security Guard, was gunned down close to his home in Caravelle, Nazon. The killers fled on motorcycles with Sylvain's weapon as a trophy. Another HNP officer, Joel Coffy of the Central Directorate of Judicial Police, was also struck down inside his home in Santo, north of Port-au-Prince.

But the Haiti National Police has brought one gang member to justice. Joseph Arnel, a prominent and influential gang leader, was apprehended and arrested, along with another gang member, Chavannes, south of Port-au-Prince in Bizoton. Arnel runs a crime syndicate headquartered in the Village of God. He and his gang have played a part in the killing of many HNP officers.

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