THE police yesterday released the body of Matthew Lee who was shot and killed under controversial circumstances by the police two weeks ago, amidst protest by grieving relatives and human rights group Jamaicans for Justice.
Lee and two other men were cut down by the lawmen's bullets in Acadia, St Andrew, two Saturdays ago.
On Wednesday, a post-mortem was conducted on his remains by Government pathologist Pradeep Rohan Ruwanpura, in the presence of staff from the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI), and an independent observer on behalf of Lee's relatives at a morgue at the House of Tranquility funeral home on Orange Street in downtown Kingston.
However, after the examination was concluded, the police informed Lee's relatives that his body could not be released to them for burial as they needed to conduct further investigations.
But this was rejected by the relatives who refused to sign a document presented to them by members of the BSI.
The move was also flatly rejected by JFJ Executive Director Dr Carolyn Gomes, who described the move as shocking and a first.
"This is totally unacceptable and unprecedented. This has never happened in history and we hope they don't tamper with Matthew's body. Why do they want to hold on to his body?" Gomes asked.
She demanded that the police commissioner accept responsibility if Lee's body was tampered with, in any way.
Lee was shot five times in the upper body and there were bruise marks near his left shoulder, a family member who viewed his body said.
Gomes also expressed a desire to see the cops involved in the shootings face the full force of the law if the evidence proves that they acted unlawfully.
"I would like to see them face the full force of the law rather than this case dropping into the hole that is a coroner's inquest which will take years to be concluded," Gomes said.
Lee, 24-year-old Eucliffe Dyer, otherwise called 'Garper', and Mark Allen, who was nicknamed 'Ratty', were travelling in a Mitsubishi motor car on Acadia Drive when they were signalled to stop.
Police said the men engaged them in an armed confrontation and all three were cut down. The lawmen said they recovered a Mack 10 submachine gun and a 9mm pistol from the slain men.
But irate residents, who protested and blocked sections of nearby Grant's Pen Road, claimed the men were unarmed when they were killed.
Some 25 persons have been killed by the police since the start of the year, while at least 21 illegal weapons have been recovered.