Mario Deane's mom alleges police intimidation at human rights hearing

By Shanica Blair
Online reporter

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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MERCIA Frazer, the mother ofMario Deane — who died after receiving a severe beating while in police custody in 2014 — yesterday joined human rights advocacy group Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) and Amnesty International at a hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Montevideo, Uruguay, where she represented families whose relatives have been killed by the police.

During her presentation, Frazer, who described the Jamaican police as manipulative, outlined the circumstances leading up to her son's death, explaining that he was locked up and denied bail because he said he did not like the police.

“The police manipulate our justice system, they manipulate families,” Frazer said, before giving her account of several alleged extrajudicial killings, one dating back 17 years ago, for which police officers have not been held responsible.

She told the IACHR panel that since her son's killing, her family has been intimidated by the police, who sometimes drive by her house and even follow her around.

Frazer further lamented that cases are not being solved because lawyers are not prepared when they turn up for court, and witnesses don't appear. In her son's case, she said one of the witnesses left for vacation a few days before the court hearing.

The hearing was staged to raise concerns about ongoing allegations of unlawful killings by the police in Jamaica, the situation of pre-trial detention, and the impunity that families of victims face.

Since 2000, law enforcement officials have been accused of killing more than 3,000 people; mostly young men living in marginalised communities. Between January and September 2017, police killings increased by 44 per cent, compared with the same period in 2016, according to the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).




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