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Family of slain pregnant mom hires lawyer

BY PAUL HENRY Crime/court co-ordinator henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, September 04, 2012    

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THE family of the pregnant St Thomas woman, who was shot and killed after resisting police arrest on the weekend, sparking widespread condemnation, has obtained legal representation in an effort to secure compensation from the State over her killing.

Former Justice Minister and Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne, QC, who will be representing the family, met yesterday in Kingston with their representatives, even as residents of Yallahs and Logwood continued another day of demonstration just outside the Yallahs Police Station in St Thomas to protest against the killing of the woman.

Eric Lamont, father of victim Kayann Lamont, her stepmother Naomi McLeod, and sister Shermean Lamont were yesterday seen leaving Lightbourne's downtown Kingston's offices following a meeting that ran into the afternoon.

West St Thomas Member of Parliament James Robertson, who waited on the family outside Lightbourne's Barry Street offices, told the Jamaica Observer that he made contact with the attorney out of a desire to have the family compensated for their loss.

"... My job is to make sure the State gives them what is due to them. The State must settle and settle quickly," Robertson said.

On the other hand, Robertson said it was sad what the policeman's family had to endure as a result of the incident, as by all accounts there had been no negative report about him up to this point. The policeman's family has been placed under police protection since the shooting because of alleged threats.

The 27-year-old-old mother of two was shot in the head, just a few feet away from the Yallahs Police Station, after a reported tussle with the police officer who had accosted her for using indecent language. Lamont's sister was allegedly shot and injured by he cop while running toward her sister.

Yesterday, placard-bearing protesters, shouting "justice" and "murder" staged another round of demonstration at the spot where Lamont was killed. At times, the demonstrators, who were mainly women, blocked the road with their bodies while the police looked on.

Some residents expressed surprise at the action of the policeman accused of the shooting, saying that he was a quiet family man who attended church. He was also described as a good gospel singer.

"For the 10 years I knew him he's never been in a conflict," Floyd Tucker, a former neighbour of the corporal told the Observer.

"If you said anything to him he would just laugh," said Tucker who was seen yesterday at the Yallahs New Testament Church of God where the accused policeman usually attended service with his wife and two children. "I never heard him behaving boisterous, and he is always encouraging the youths on the road. Up to now it puzzle me."

In a release yesterday, the Women's Resource & Outreach Centre described the shooting incident as "simply devastating, heartless and cruel".

"How can police offers operate in this manner? Was the policeman's life in danger? Was he attacked by the pregnant woman?. What justifications can be made for pulling and releasing his firearm?" the group questioned.

Meanwhile, the Jamaica Labour Party's Women's Freedom Movement, in a release yesterday, said: "Today a family has been torn apart by what appears to be the indiscriminate use of force by the police and the commissioner and ranking officers of the force must properly review this situation and re-assess how the police engage citizens in carrying out their duties.

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