THE Jamaica Constabulary Force's National Police Youth Club Council, which represents over 10,000 members across the island, has issued a call for Police Commissioner Owen Ellington to issue a public apology over the controversial police operation which
led to the death of Kavorn Shue in Mountain View on Saturday June 2.
"There needs to be an apology, the general police youth club movement is really saying that if the police hierarchy would really come out and say that we made a mistake and we are sorry I think that the community on a whole would have embraced them differently than how they are treated now," Dei-Rasi Freckleton, president of the group said yesterday.
He made the call during a thanksgiving service held at the Lion Episcopal Baptist Church, Mountain View, Kingston, in memory of the 25-year-old man, affectionately called 'Deno', whom police claim was killed during a shoot-out in which a gun and ammunition were seized
Residents have claimed, however that Shue was shot while he was asleep in bed at his home on Jarrett Lane.
Yesterday thousands of family members, friends and close associates wept openly and expressed anger over the death of the young man who was a part of the Mountain View Police Youth Club and who wanted to become a policeman.
Freckleton said that youth club members wanted the authorities to strengthen the policies that were already in place to ensure that police personnel were held accountable, as many extra judicial killings were leaving young people, especially those in the youth clubs, in fear.
"Most of the youth club members are really afraid of the police right now because they are saying how, can we be police youth club members and such treatment is meted out to us," said Freckleton.
"How is it that after 58 years a child is afraid of his or her parent. That does not make sense. The police youth club is 58 years old. It started in 1954 and the police youth club is one of the better youth movements in Jamaica right now. However we want to feel a part of our parent. We want to trust the police and the police trust us and have a vibrant relationship," said Freckleton.
He also called for authorities to strengthen the policies that were already in place to keep the police in line.
"There are very good policies but I think they need to be strengthened and more strident and other measures should be put in place to keep the police in line to ensure that they operate in a professional manner at all times. We are making the call because we are working alongside the police, not against the police," Freckleton said.
He was also supported by Jamaican For Justice Chairperson Susan Goffe who said that community members were justified in doubting
"The community members and the youth leaders are absolutely justified in questioning whether or not there will be justice," said Goffe.
"We have for far too long allowed the situation of impunity when there have been killings by the police. I would call on all people, the family, the community, the members of the police youth club; the good police to speak out and to be committed for as long as it takes to seek justice for Kavorn. If we don't do that then we are basically saying that there are no cases in which we are prepared to call for justice and accountability," said Goffe.
Member of Parliament Andre Hylton, in his tribute, announced the establishment of a $100,000 scholarship in honour of Shue.
The scholarship, Hylton said, would be given to a member of the community who was progressive, hard-working, determined and was focused towards a positive goal... traits he said were displayed by Shue during his life.
"He was a young man from a very challenging background, but had the capacity to lift himself up," said Hylton who remembered Shue as a unifier in his community.
"It is not often we see a young man of his age being able to go to any community and gain the respect that he did," stated Hylton who encouraged young people to strive to adopt some of the characteristics displayed by Shue.