Police unaware of death squad probe but willing to cooperate
THE Police High Command has denied knowledge of investigations by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) of senior police officers suspected of being involved in unlawful killings, but said it was willing to cooperate with investigators.
"There can be no denying that the revelations by INDECOM and particularly how they were reported in the media are damaging to the image of the police," said a release Tuesday from the Police High Command.
"Only thorough and speedy investigations, followed by full public disclosure of findings, can repair such damage. All hardworking, professional and committed members of the police force anxiously await the outcome of those investigations," the release added.
"It would be a tragedy if any citizen would be left to wonder if he or she could be killed on orders from senior members of the [Jamaica Constabulary Force]. It is, therefore, in the public's interest that INDECOM completes its investigations as quickly as possible and update the public of its findings."
INDECOM Commissioner Terrence Williams made the revelation about the investigation of senior officers during a press briefing on Monday.
Williams also said officers from Area Three — which comprises Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth -- had been arrested for two murders that had initially been reported as homicides committed by civilians.
So far, four cops — constables Collin 'Chuckie' Brown, Carl Bucknor, Jerome Whyte, and Detective Corporal Kevin Adams -- are charged with murder relating to killings that took place in Clarendon. Adams has been charged with four murders -- Asif Washington in January last year; Andrew Bissoon in September 2011; Sylvester Gallimore in May 2011; and Andrew Trought in February 2012.
Bucknor has also been charged with Bissoon's murder, while Whyte has also been charged with Trought's murder. Brown has been charged with murder in relation to the deaths of Robert 'Gutty' Dawkins, Phaebian Dinnal and the double murder of Andrew Fearon and Dwayne Douglas in December 2012. In addition, Brown has been slapped with conspiracy to murder and wounding with intent charges.
Investigations are also being carried out in relation to nine other murders which were reported as homicides and not fatal shootings.
Commenting on INDECOM's investigations into killings allegedly committed by police personnel in Clarendon, the Police High Command said investigations were conducted "with the full support of the Jamaica Constabulary Force" and assured its "continuing cooperation at all levels".
The release said that in at least two instances, the police commissioner had ordered investigations into the conduct of two of the policemen implicated, based on intelligence pointing to their involvement in unlawful killings.