Sat, 19 Aug 2017 02:00:06 -0400
Not trueSunday, August 13, 2017
FORMER Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Leslie Green is describing as “false and misleading” statements in the administrative review done by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) of his role in the May 2010 security forces' operation in West Kingston.
An internal committee was set up by the JCF to review the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry report, which accused five cops, including a senior officer, of misconduct. The report also recommended that the policemen be barred from leading or participating in future security operations.
However, the internal committee, which submitted its review to Police Commissioner George Quallo last month, cleared the five accused, saying there was no basis for the adverse findings and comments mentioned in the West Kingston report, and equally that there was no reason the named officers should not be allowed to continue to serve in their various capacities in the JCF.
The committee's review also said that it found it inconceivable that Green, then head of the Criminal investigations branch, never gave evidence before the enquiry as to: the recovery of bodies, the identification of bodies, and the evidence gathering relative to allegations of extra-judicial killings.
But Green, in a letter to Quallo dated August 11, 2017, said that statements in the committee's report about his role as ACP, Criminal Investigation Branch and in the operational plan of the security forces operation in Tivoli Gardens are untrue and should be addressed immediately.
“This review was brought to my attention and I am very concerned by the false and misleading statements contained within this internal JCF review,” Green said in the letter.
He said as it relates to his role then as ACP, CIB and the Operational Plan — responsible for arrest, search, evidence-gathering, processing of the subject and treatment of significant other suspects arrested/detained — the duties and responsibilities for these activities were promptly and fully undertaken by him and CIB personnel, once they were tasked by the relevant command structure and it was safe for these to be conducted.
“I must stress that at no time have I or the CIB in general, been tasked with conducting investigations concerning the use of force by the JCF and/or the JDF (Jamaica Defence Force). It was in May 2010 the specific responsibility of the Bureau of Special Investigation (BSI) and they did not form part of the CIB,” Green explained.
He said that there have been “at least” two exceptions that he is aware of with this rule and that on both occasions they were as a direct result of a specific command by the relevant commissioner of police and noted that these did not relate to this activity in 2010.
“I cannot account for the oversight in the operational plan for failing to mention the role of the BSI — as prior to Wednesday 26th May, 2010, I was not in any part involved in the planning, implementation or response to this operational activity — although I am aware that the Commissioner of Police Mr Owen Ellington immediately and properly addressed this issue — where civilians were injured or killed, within the specified area of activity — by confirming that all related investigations would solely rest with the BSI, as per normal operational procedures and that the CIB and myself would provide all possible assistance,” he added.
The former ACP explained that this was provided by CIB officers on the ground and within the local divisional command structures that existed at the time and the Forensic Crime Scene Investigators who were attached to the Scene of Crime Unit within the Technical Service Division of CIB.
According to him, he could not account for the conduct of the enquiry, but saw no reason they should have asked him to provide evidence relating to the recovery of dead bodies, identification of bodies and evidence gathering relative to allegations of extra-judicial killings.
He argued that these were and have always been the sole remit of the BSI, with the appropriate support of local CIB and scene of crime personnel.
Green said comments in the internal review report that the system was not followed according to the plan, due to the absence of the CIB participation; that this specific responsibility was a matter for the CIB in accordance with the operation plan; that no member of the Mobile Reserve team had the duty to process dead bodies; and that the carrying out of investigations would have been the remit of the CIB and records that were made should have been obtained, acted on and preserved by the CIB, were “totally unfounded and unjustified”.
“Specially relating to [the] above, the only authorised personnel who can 'process dead bodies' within the JCF are the Scene of Crime and forensic crime scene Investigators and this was completed by them when it was safe for them to do so. They and the CIB cannot be held accountable for any prior activity conducted during the operational phase of the activity and they are not trained and/or equipped for such work,” he said.
“I respectfully request that the false and misleading statements are promptly addressed in this publicly circulated review document, published on the JCF website page and widely reported in the media, as any delays will continue to cause distress, alarm and harm to the reputations of nearly 1,500 members of the JCF, who were members of the CIB in May 2010,” Green said.
More than 70 people were killed when police and soldiers were forced to fight their way into Tivoli Gardens to arrest then strongman Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who was wanted by the United States Government on drug- and gun-running charges.
Coke fled the heavily barricaded community during two days of firefights between gunmen loyal to him and the security forces. However, he was captured a few weeks later, waived his right to an extradition hearing and was flown to the United States where he was tried and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
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