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Police killing of man sparks protest

Senior staff reporter

Saturday, June 06, 2020

“IT hard fi live inna the ghetto.”

Those were the words uttered by a young man, whom the Jamaica Observer will not name, living in Seivwright Gardens, St Andrew (formerly known as Cockburn Pen), following the fatal shooting of a man after an alleged confrontation with members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The police have identified the dead man as Germaine “Shawn” Ferguson of Sam Sharpe Drive, Kingston 11, and Enfield, St Mary.

He was a father of three.

According to an official police report, Ferguson was shot dead after he and a group of men had a confrontation with lawmen who were on patrol in the community shortly after 8:00 am yesterday.

Police said a Ruger semi-automatic pistol was seized following the incident.

But the angry residents told a different tale when the Observer arrived on the scene.

According to the irate group — that blocked sections of Hagley Park Road with debris, set a vehicle on fire, and attacked at least one motorist with stones in protest against Ferguson's killing — he was innocent.

“We a the real victims inna all of this. Yuh haffi live with the illegal gunman them and the legal one them weh guh school and get proper training and fi act professional; them call them one deh police. A them a kill yuh. Suh who yuh fi turn to? Gunman a harass yuh and police a kill yuh. The youth innocent. That man don't mix up. Mi can tell yuh straight, a murder them murder Shawn,” the man told the Observer.

He said Ferguson, 22, and a neighbour were seated on York Avenue when a patrol car occupied by policemen passed.

The man said shortly after the cops returned and alighted from the vehicle.

He said the two men were questioned before the police focused their attention on Ferguson, who was in the process of repairing a phone.

According to the man, who was not present at the time of the incident, Ferguson was asked to unlock the phone, which the police then took from him.

He said that, upon searching the phone, the cops discovered a photo which showed “a hand a hold a gun”.

It is said that the police then asked Ferguson to take them to his home. He obliged.

“As soon as the man step inna him yard them light him up [shot him], pick him up, and throw him inna them van back. A good thing the youth weh him sit down with big brother see the play and run go fi him or him woulda dead too,” the man told the Observer.

He said that Ferguson was shot five times.

“We want the real story out deh, because them police yah a wicked. Them man deh (Ferguson) a digital man. Them man deh bright; a phone him fix. If yuh waah shop online a them man deh yuh link. A phone and technology him deal wid, him nuh mix up inna gun business. Wi know the shotta them and him a nuh one. Right now as mi look 'round I swear to yuh nuh shotta nuh stand up yah suh. A pure innocent people deh yah suh,” the man claimed.

He said Ferguson, who had been the victim of violence at the hands of criminals in the area, was not born and raised in that community.

The Observer was told that after visiting the community frequently, Ferguson pursued a relationship with a resident and shortly after decided to settle there, more than a decade ago, because she became pregnant.

“Yuh think shotta see police and sit down same way? Yuh believe seh a suh dem move? The things we deal with inna ghetto mi can tell yuh seh yuh never deal with that inna yuh life yet. Yuh nuh know how police deal with we. People wouldn't come out come protest if a did criminal them kill because we know the criminal them. But all the same still, this a go be weh them call nine-day wonder,” he stated.

A woman nearby, who had kept herself fixed on a Heineken and cigarette, vowed to continue protesting until justice is served.

She said, except for Ferguson's spouse, who was reportedly rushed to hospital after learning of his demise, and his children, no one would seek to get justice for him.

“Every time mi see police mi [blood] pressure raise. Mi nuh know who next [name of police omitted] a come kill. Mi nuh know if a me or mi son or who. Shawn nuh come from here. Him mother deh foreign. Him nuh have nobody fi fight fi him. Only him babymother and him pickney them. Tomorrow we a go back out deh go block road again. This can't go suh,” the woman let out.

Earlier, a trailer truck driver was the victim of the violent protest on Hagley Park Road after residents reportedly felt that he was attempting to mow them down.

The group hurled stones and other missiles at the vehicle, forcing the driver to flee.

“It's just a misunderstanding,” another resident later told the Observer.

“Him feel like them did a go hijack the truck suh him a try tek weh himself, but the strength weh him move off wid mek them feel seh him a try lick them down. A nuh nuh hard feelings, because is a brethren who drive trailer too and know him end up move the truck,” the man said.

Two marked police service vehicles were reportedly damaged during the protest.

Yesterday, tensions ran high in the community, known for pockets of violence in the past, prompting the deployment of members of the Jamaica Defence Force.

But as JCF members processed the scene, residents loitered along the roadway, some with folded placards, suggesting that the day's protest was over.

The Independent Commission of Investigations is probing the fatal shooting.