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Anger at the State

Swallowfield residents hurl stones at cops, try to fire-bomb police station

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Angry residents of Swallowfield in St Andrew last night launched a second attack on the police and set fire to a blockade they mounted on Old Hope Road in their continued protest against the fatal shooting by cops of a 17-year-old male from the community Monday night.

Last night, people living in neighbouring communities reported hearing shots being fired and a Jamaica Defence Force helicopter hovering over the troubled community.

Head of the constabulary's Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) Assistant Superintendent Dahlia Garrick confirmed that stones were hurled at the police by the residents.

The blockade disrupted late-evening traffic flow on the heavily used Old Hope Road and motorists had to use alternative routes.

Following the shooting Monday night, the residents blocked a section of Old Hope Road. Yesterday morning, they mounted a second roadblock on Old Hope Road and Arthur Wint Drive and attacked the Stadium Gardens Police Station with a fire-bomb.

However, Garrick told the Jamaica Observer that the device fell in the yard at the station.

She also said the windscreen of a service vehicle that was parked at the scene of the shooting Monday night was damaged during the initial demonstration.

According to the police, at approximately 8:15 pm on Monday 17-year-old Casey Lake was fatally shot during a confrontation with cops on Providence Lane.

The CCU told the Observer yesterday that a home-made firearm and one round of ammunition were recovered from Lake.

However, residents have rubbished the police's story, insisting that there was no confrontation and stating that only one shot was fired.

Lake's mother, Mia Elleston, told the Observer that her third child was returning from a shop when he was killed.

“Whole heap a time dem pass and see him and tell him say dem a go kill him. Weh dem a go kill him for, I don't know,” said Elleston, who is resolute that her son, whom she called 'CJ', was not a wrongdoer.

“CJ is not a person who walk and trouble people. If him was a bad person it wouldn't be so bad. You have to directly trouble him. Everybody love him; is a willing youth. Him 'gree wid everybody. Him name no deh a station, nutten at all,” she said.

According to the mother, her son was being harassed by the police because he had “one little incident” with a girl.

Elleston said she was inside her house when she heard the commotion.

“When mi come out, the policeman a tell me say mi fi go back in. So mi tell him say mi nah go back in 'cause mi a come look if a mi son. Same time mi hear him cousin bawl out, so a so mi know seh a mi son,” she said.

“The three police dem stand up and none of them said anything, them mouth lock, dem dumb, them cyaah answer weh dem find on him 'cause them no find nothing. Them surprise to see the amount of people who come out,” she said.

Lake's sister, Sheneeka Blair, said she last saw her brother last week when she accompanied him to court to answer to an assault charge.

“I said to him, 'Get yourself ready Tuesday morning because wi a go up a the school because mi a go re-register you,” she said.

Blair explained that her brother was a first-year electrical installation student at Excelsior Community College. However, he was unable to finish his first year due to financial challenges.

Another family member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Observer that a policeman had threatened to kill Lake.

“We were at a gathering and the police drove up and called him. He went to them and they searched him. They asked him if he was not going to school, him say 'Yeah, mi a go go school September', and them asked him bout three times and him say 'Yeah, mi mother and mi sister a look bout it. Mi a go September' and him [policeman] say 'If you nuh go school September a dead you a go dead ennuh, or go jail' and mi laugh and shake mi head and say 'weh you say, officer?' and him say 'you a who to him?' and mi say 'a me cousin' and him say 'unnuh nah send him go school?' and mi say 'you no hear him say him mother and him sister a look bout school fi him' and him jump inna di van and drive weh,” said the family member.

The Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Commission of Investigations are investigating.