70 participate in Mario Deane protest in New York
NEW YORK, USA — About 70 protesters who gathered peacefully in front of the Jamaican Consulate in Manhattan, New York, presented a signed petition against the Jamaican Government, yesterday.
The protest was organised to bring international attention to the circumstances surrounding the death of Mario Deane while he was in the care of the police at the Barnett Street Police Station in Montego Bay, St James, in early August.
The petition was handed to Darren McCreath, a consular officer at the Jamaican consulate. McCreath later accommodated a three-man delegation, headed by attorney Miguel Lorne, who represents the interests of Deane's relatives.
"We told him that the protest was not aimed at embarrassing Jamaica, nor is it meant to wash our dirty linen in public. Rather, it is meant to ensure that such an event does not happen in the future. This has to stop especially in light of the fact that he was held with a spliff," Lorne told the Jamaica Observer.
Deane was arrested on August 3 and was allegedly refused bail by a female cop because he reportedly expressed his dislike for the police. The officer instructed his friend who had come to bail him to return at 5:00 pm that same evening but his friend grew suspicious and returned at 3:00 pm, only to be told that Deane had been taken to hospital.
Police had initially reported to doctors at the Cornwall Regional Hospital that Deane had fallen off a bunk but recanted their story and said he was beaten by prisoners in a cell.
Two inmates have since been charged with Deane's death. One has been removed from Montego Bay and is now being housed at the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre, even though he has not been convicted of any crime.
Lorne, meanwhile, expressed his disappointment with the handling of the case by the police. "Police investigations into the matter are going in the wrong direction," he said..
Meanwhile, renowned American pathologist Dr Michael Baden is expected to arrive in Jamaica on Monday to oversee the post-mortem to be conducted on Deane's body at the Cornwall Regional Hospital morgue on Tuesday.
Baden, who is well known for his work in forensics, performed the autopsy on the body of Michael Brown, the unarmed black Missouri teen who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, earlier this month.
The killing in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked several days of violent clashes between police and residents.
During yesterday's protest in New York, the group of demonstrators repeatedly branded Jamaican police as killers, demanded justice for Deane and called for Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to "step down".
Michelle Bradshaw, one of the organisers of the protest, vowed to continue to seek justice for Deane, even as she acknowledged that investigations into the incident are ongoing, that arrests have been made, police officers have been suspended and that the Government had reached out to Deane's family.