PETERSFIELD, Westmoreland — Public anger at the police killing of three male relatives in Shrewsbury on Friday afternoon escalated into a demonstration yesterday during which residents voiced strong condemnation of the police.
"Police brutality! Murder! Murder! Murder!" shouted some demonstrators, most of them women.
"Worse thing mi see happen inna life," a male protester claimed.
The dead men, who lived at the Shrewsbury Housing Scheme in Petersfield, are 28-year-old firefighter Andrew Brydson, his brother Triston Brydson, 24, and their cousin, 38-year-old chef Kingsley Green, also called Bishop.
Police say the men were killed during a firefight, and that a pistol and rifle were seized after the incident. But residents insist that the police are lying, and claim that the men were killed in cold blood. The Independent Commission of Investigation is conducting a probe.
According to the residents, shortly after midday, the three men, who had taken a break from the construction of a restaurant they intended to operate in the community, went to a nearby shop to purchase drinks.
After alighting from the fireman's red Honda Integra motor car outside the shop, the residents said, the men were shot by the police.
The police had said they went into the community after receiving information that men, armed with firearms, were in the area.
Yesterday, the police had to call in reinforcements to handle the demonstration which saw the angry protesters mounting huge blockades along the main road in Petersfield and at sections of the nearby Shrewsbury and Bullet Tree roads.
One of the demonstrators said that the three men were Christians and as such could not have been in possession of a rifle and a pistol.
"Dem wicked and lie. We want Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Security Minister Peter Bunting to intervene," one elderly woman demanded.
She described Andrew Brydson as a man of few words, and a gifted player of musical instruments who used to display his talent in church.
"You see the fireman one, him don't talk. Just from work to house. Me belly mourn. And them mother just come here two weeks ago come bury them father," a senior female member of the Church of God Mountain Assembly, which the three attended, told the Jamaica Observer.
"Dem mother drop down in America when she get the news. When me call her yesterday she was at hospital. You don't kill people like that. Dem (police) don't have no heart," the woman fumed.
One resident claimed that he saw the police take the two brothers to the side of the shop and shoot them in cold blood.
"Me never see when dem shoot Bishop, but when I was coming, I saw dem (cops) leading the two brothers, who held each other's hand, around the shop and shoot them. Triston first at the heap of sand, then the fireman," the resident said, pointing to a large blot of dried blood on the ground.
At the Jamaica Fire Brigade's Savanna-la-Mar division, claims of police brutality were inscribed on placards mounted on the gate.
When the Sunday Observer got to the fire station, the chaplain was providing grief counselling to the staff.
Meanwhile, fire, believed to be set by arsonists Friday night, razed the house of a man who irate residents accused of reporting to the police that gunmen were in Shrewsbury on Friday.
The residents claim that the man, who is now homeless, caused the police to gun down the three men.