A white Connecticut financial adviser faces manslaughter charges in connection with the killing of a Black hotel worker on the Caribbean island of Anguilla.
According to the Associated Press, Kenny Mitchel, 27, was killed April 13 in the room of U.S. tourist Gavin Scott Hapgood, 44. Police said Hapgood’s young daughters were in the room at the time of the killing.
Mitchel, who worked as a maintenance worker at the five-star hotel, was allegedly called to Hapgood’s room around 4 p.m. when a fight began between the men. Mitchel’s death was caused by “prone restraint, positional asphyxia and blunt force trauma to the head, neck, and torso,” the death certificate stated.
Although he was initially denied bail by the Magistrate court on April 17, Hapgood appealed to the High Court and was released on a $74,000 bond. His return back to the U.S. was met by outrage from local Anguillans who demand he be extradited back to the island.
“It’s clear that people are angry over this situation,” Randy Dick, the public information officer for the Royal Anguilla Police Force, told AP. “They are very emotional about it. The police continue to perform in a very professional manner, and they allow the law to take its course.”
Although Anguilla police understand the flood of comments and speculation from people demanding justice on social media, the police force urged people to wait until the investigation is complete.
“The Royal Anguilla Police Force acknowledge the fact that people want information in respect of the recent arrest and charging of a US tourist, however, like all investigation these are not conducted on social media,” Dick wrote on Facebook.
“These matters are now before the court and are sub judicial. The comments being made on the RAPF Facebook have no foundation in fact and are likely to incite racial hatred and can prejudice a jury especially since they will be chosen from among the community of Anguilla.”
Dick said police don’t yet have a motive for the killing and they aren’t sure why Mitchel was in Hapgood’s room.
“There are only two persons who actually know what happened,” Dick told AP.
Dick said Hapgood is expected to return to Anguilla for hearing on August 22.