Police shooting sparks angry protest on Hagley Park Road

Observer writers

Saturday, August 04, 2018

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RESIDENTS of the York Avenue community, located off Hagley Park Road in Kingston, yesterday morning blocked a section of the main road to protest against the fatal police shooting of a young man from the community.

Residents claimed that the deceased, identified only by his alias “Breezy”, was killed in cold blood by police Thursday night. However, the police report that, while on operation in the community,a shoot-out ensued between members of the constabulary and gunmen when the man known as “Breezy“ was hit and subsequently succumbed to his injuries.

Commander of the St Andrew South Division Superintendent Gary Francis confirmed the incident and said that a firearm was recovered from the body of the dead man along with a number of rounds.

The protest created a huge pile-up of traffic along Hagley Park Road as residents set debris ablaze to block the road as they demanded justice. The police, however, managed to clear the roadblock and maintained a heavy presence in the area during the day.

The police along with the Independent Commission of Investigations are investigating the matter.

In the meantime, a feud between residents of York Avenue and neighbouring Mahoe Drive has been causing tension in that part of Hagley Park Road, which has been blamed for recent upheavals in the communities.

“Within the Mahoe Drive [and] York Avenue communities there has been a long-standing feud and it has resulted in a number of shootings and even cases of murder in which the police continue to monitor,” Francis told the Jamaica Observer.

However, residents of York Avenue allege that the police have taken sides with Mahoe Drive.“The police dem a link wid the man dem ova Mahoe Drive and a come ova ya come kill off the man dem innocently,” claimed a resident from York Avenue. The residents charged that the police are there to maintain peace and justice but instead were being unfair to one side.

Superintendent Francis refuted the claims and said that the police were working to quell the violence between the communities. “We have been utilising a buffer between the two communities which are very close,” said Francis.

At the same time, residents allege that their Member of Parliament Angela Brown Burke has not been in the community since the flare-up of violence and vow that they will switch support to the Jamaica Labour Party.

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