News

Cop accused of fatally shooting vendor charged

BY RENAE DIXON Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 24, 2013    

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OCHO RIOS, St Ann — A St Ann policeman has been charged with murder and attempting to pervert the course of justice following the controversial shooting of a vendor in Brown's Town on Friday, July, 12.

The policeman, Constable Ricketto Graham, 26, of Gayle in St Mary, was charged following investigations into the controversial shooting which resulted in the death of 21-year-old Christopher Hill of Treadlight District in Clarendon.

It was initially reported hat Hill was shot during a confrontation with the police about 4:30 am on the day in question on Wesley Crescent in Brown's Town, here in St Ann. He succumbed to his injuries in hospital on Sunday, July 14.

The policeman, who was charged following an investigation into the matter, was given bail in the sum of $600,000 when he appeared in court yesterday after a successful application by attorney-at-law Oswest Senior Smith before Resident Magistrate Vaughn Facey.

Graham was ordered to surrender his travel documents, while a stop order has been issued at all ports. He was also ordered not to interfere with the witnesses.

According to the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), initial police reports stated that two police officers, dressed in plainclothes, were on foot patrol in the Brown's Town area when they allegedly noticed that a man was coming towards them and appearing as though he wanted to run.

The officers reportedly announced themselves by shouting: "Police, put your hands in the air and don't move!" The man did not stop, but allegedly continued to advance at the policemen after repeated instructions that he stop and follow the instructions of the officers. The man was fired at by one of the officers after he allegedly pulled what appeared to be a ratchet knife from his waist. When he allegedly continued moving towards the policemen a second shot was fired and the man fell. He was subsequently taken to hospital where he was admitted. A knife was recovered from him, the police reported.

However, civilians gave a conflicting account to that of the police, INDECOM said.

"Based on information collected during the initial investigation, it was apparent that there was an intent to wound Mr Hill, and so Constable Ricketto Graham was taken into custody (on July 12, 2013) where he remained until a ruling from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions."

INDECOM has applauded the co-operation of the police and civilians in the matter.

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