Cops kill 10 in three parishes
THE Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) — the body responsible for probing police shootings — was kept busy yesterday in the aftermath of 10 police killings in the parishes of St Catherine, Clarendon and St James between Thursday night and yesterday morning.
"We cannot make any judgement as to justification of the shootings until the investigations are completed, but the fact that there are so many lives that have been lost is certainly something of grave concern," head of INDECOM Terrence Williams said.
In the first operation in Eltham Park, St Catherine, two men, believed to be members of the notorious Klansman gang, were fatally shot by a police team from the Mobile Reserve and the St Catherine North Police Division. One of the dead men was identified only as 'J Klans'.
The police reported that about 9:00 pm Thursday members of the constabulary came under gunfire from a group of men when they entered the community. The fire was returned and two of the men were hit. Detectives believe members of the group were responsible for the double murder of 22-year-old Leroy Campbell of 204 Brunswick Avenue, Spanish Town and 24-year-old Stephen Dorrant from Angels, also in Spanish Town, on February 7.
In the Clarendon operation, four men were killed during an alleged shoot-out on the border of Portland Cottage and Rocky Point.
The police said about 11:00 pm Thursday officers signalled a vehicle which had four men aboard to stop but instead they came under gunfire from the men and during a gunfight the four were shot dead.
In St James, three men were taken out by the police during an alleged gunfight on Hart Street. Police said members of a team were on operation in the area when they came under fire from armed men about 4:00 am yesterday. The fire was returned and the three were later found suffering from gunshot wounds. They were taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital where they were pronounced dead. A firearm was allegedly recovered during the incident.
In another incident in St James, a police team went to Barracks Road where a man allegedly pulled a gun and fired at the cops team. The fire was returned and the man was killed.
The St James shooting victims were identified as 21-year-old Kemar Morris, alias 'Bush', of Barracks Road, Montego Bay; Gregory Cole, 25; Andre Cousins; and Michael Green, a 23-year-old student, all of Hart Street in Montego Bay, St James.
Morris's mother, Gwendolyn Grey, alleged that her son was killed in cold-blood. "... It was no shoot-out. He was no wrong doer. He usually goes to his bed early every night. The police murdered my son," Grey told reporters.
According to Grey, she was at home at Barracks Road when she heard a knocking at the door, followed by voices which identified themselves as police and ordered that she open the door. She said after she opened the door, five cops walked pass her and headed into a room occupied by Morris. She recounted that shuffling sounds came from inside the room, followed by a gunshot. Her son was later found dead.
Yesterday, the INDECOM boss said the number of police shootings has once again highlighted the need for more resources for the investigating body to effectively carry out its work. "This shows the need for greater resources to be given to INDECOM because we certainly need more investigators to deal with these scenes and to be able to process them and interview persons," Williams told the Observer.
He said that at the end of 2011 his commission still had 720 cases of alleged police excesses under investigation and by the end of January another 40 were added to the list.