‘It was not a JFJ press conference’
THE human rights group, Jamaicans for Justice, has denied any involvement in Tuesday’s press conference that was held in support of Joycelyn Guthrie whose son was killed by a policeman in August.
However, the group has expressed interest in the case but said they would await the outcome of the investigations before taking an official position.
“It was not a JFJ press conference and I made it clear to him (Jeffrey Arthurs). We are interested in the outcome of the investigations but we don’t yet have a position,” said Christopher Dickenson, a member of the JFJ’s Issues Committee.
At the press conference Tuesday, Jeffrey Arthurs, who identified himself as a representative of Jamaicans for Justice, expressed dissatisfaction with the pace at which the investigations into the incident were going. He said the group would be taking a number of steps to speed the investigations along.
“Just like Michael Gayle we are not going to let up on this one because we are not going to allow it to just die,” Arthurs told the news conference Tuesday.
But the JFJ told the Observer Thursday that Arthurs was not an official member of the group, although he has attended a number of JFJ meetings.
“The whole idea of the JFJ is that we need to give the police a chance to investigate. If the police can solve it internally, that’s how we would like it done. Going public is the last resort,” Dickenson told the Observer Thursday.
“We generally like to exhaust all legitimate means before getting involved.”
In the meantime, Arthurs contended that it must have been a case of misunderstanding as he thought Dickenson had given him the go-ahead to hold the press conference on behalf of the JFJ.
“Christopher said I could do the press conference but that the JFJ would not take any great action (such as a demonstration) until the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) had made their ruling,” Arthurs told the Observer on Thursday.
And Joycelyn Guthrie has expressed disappointment that the JFJ has yet to take a position on the case.
“I don’t know what to say believe you me. I don’t feel pleased, I thought it would go further and that something would come out of it. It seems like it’s just going to go like that,” Guthrie said.
Her 19-year-old son, Ricardo Stewart, was fatally shot by a member of the police force when they went to arrest him, following a dispute with his stepfather, District Constable Neville Campbell.
It is alleged that following the dispute, Campbell made a report to the police and accompanied them to the house where the shooting took place.
The incident resulted in a demonstration by residents of the area.
Since the incident, the policeman who allegedly did the shooting was taken off front-line duty and Campbell has been transferred to the Sandy Bay Police Station.
The Police Bureau of Special Investigations is investigating the incident.