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Shooting victim’s sister still loves the police

BY KARYL WALKER Editor - Crime/Court Desk walkerk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, January 26, 2014    

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DESPITE the deep emotional scars that have been inflicted on her psyche since the death of her brother at the hands of the police on Monday, Shackelia Jackson-Thomas still holds love in her heart for members of the constabulary.

Nakiea Jackson, 27, was killed under controversial circumstances, and irate residents of the Orange Villa community in downtown Kingston mounted two fiery protests on Monday and Tuesday to voice their disgust at what they describe as a cold-blooded and senseless act.

But Jackson-Thomas said that she realised that she still holds the image of the force in high esteem when a cop visited her on Friday and broke down crying on her shoulder in grief at Jackson's killing.

"When he drove up, he gave me an embrace and I returned the embrace. He started sobbing. Although I have been so strong I felt the tears running down my cheek. I said to him he has to be strong because we need people like him to remain in the force because they do face a fight. It was like a Nobel Peace Prize moment," Jackson-Thomas told the Jamaica Observer.

So moved by the cop's reaction to her brother's death, Jackson-Thomas has taken a philosophical outlook that she said will guide her going forward and help her to heal from this tragedy, which has shaken up her relatives and by extension the entire community of Orange Villa.

"This is what my brother really is. That he could evoke that kind of emotion and sentiment, it must be that he was their ally and not someone they should be afraid of. I know now that this is a relationship we have to continue. This one person (the cop who killed her brother) is not a reflection of the force," she said.

Residents of Orange Villa said that Jackson was walking past some cops who had come into the community when they inquired if he was the operator of a cook shop, as he held an empty rubbish bin. He answered in the affirmative and went into the shop where he continued looking after the food that he sold on a daily basis.

A cop went inside the cook shop, residents said, and moments after, two loud explosions were heard.

To their shock and horror, Jackson was shot twice and was dragged by his feet and left on a pavement.

However, police reported that a robbery was committed in the area and a man wearing dreadlocks was being chased. The police said that they attempted to accost the man when he pointed a gun at them. The police said that they took evasive action, opened fire, and Jackson was hit.

The cops said that a 9mm pistol was recovered.

But despite being deeply hurt by her brother's demise, Jackson-Thomas has still found space in her heart for forgiveness.

"I have to forgive. It's not about tainting the law. They are still human. I understand. Let's sit and talk. Let's find a more effective way of working things out," she said.

Jackson's death has been a blow to some students of the nearby Kingston High School whom he used to sell lunches to for a measly $100.

Two days after his death, National Security Minister Peter Bunting, Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington, and Member of Parliament for West Kingston Desmond McKenzie visited the area to assure the residents that the matter is being probed and justice will be served.

On Thursday, Jackson-Thomas and her relatives met with a police delegation, including staff from the Chaplaincy Unit.

But despite her ability to forgive, Jackson-Thomas is still steadfast that her brother does not go down as another statistic, she insists that justice must be served. She has acquired the services of an attorney-at-law to represent the interests of her brother's loved ones and to eventually clear his name.

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