Police officers are seen in Barbados on March 19, 2019. Journalist Christoff Griffith was recently killed while covering a crime scene. (Reuters/Phil Noble)

Photojournalist Christoff Griffith killed at crime scene in Barbados

Miami, June 26, 2020 – Authorities in Barbados must thoroughly investigate the killing of photojournalist Christoff Griffith and ensure those responsible are held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Griffith is the first journalist CPJ has recorded as killed in relation to his work in Barbados.

On June 22, in St. Michael, southwest Barbados, an unidentified man attacked and killed Griffith, a photojournalist working with The Nation newspaper, according to news reports and Carol Martindale, executive director of The Nation, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview.

Griffith had traveled to the area to cover a crime scene; he arrived before police, and was killed by the suspected perpetrator of the original crime, the killing of a man identified as Glenroy James, according to Martindale and those reports. Both victims were found with multiple lacerations across their bodies, according to those reports.

Police arrested the suspected killer on the evening of June 22, according to those news reports.

“Barbados authorities must continue investigating the killing of photojournalist Christoff Griffith and make sure that those responsible are brought to justice,” said CPJ Central and South Americas Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick, in New York. “This tragic incident may be unprecedented in Barbados, but it highlights the security risks that journalists face in their everyday work around the world.”

Griffith, 24, had been working as a photojournalist for The Nation since 2014, according to Martindale, who said that the journalist “must have thought that the perpetrator had fled the area” when rushing to the crime scene.

The killings took place at an abandoned property that James had been hired to clean, according to those news reports, which identified the suspected killer as a homeless person who had been sleeping at the scene.

On June 23, the Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley issued a statement expressing her condolences on behalf of the government.

When CPJ called the Royal Barbados Police Force, a representative said they would transfer the call to the relevant department, but then no one picked up.