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WATCH: Police accused of abusing father and son in Franklyn Town

Friday, October 15, 2021

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Public anger at the police's use of force to arrest a man and his son in Top Road in Franklyn Town, Kingston on Thursday escalated into a fiery protest and roadblock, during which residents voiced strong condemnation over the actions of the lawmen.

"Anytime the police dem come here [in Top Road, Franklyn Town] dem taking set on di people dem who been here all the while... We tiad a it now. We can't go no more!" one male eyewitness told OBSERVER ONLINE.

In a video obtained by our news team, a masked police officer is seen using a baton to hit a young man who had allegedly earlier resisted the lawman's attempt to conduct a search of his pockets.

Another man, said to be the father of the young man, held on to him to apparently shield him from any further beatings by the officer.

"A likkle bwoy dat enuh... A foolishness!" shouted one woman.

"Murda! Murda! Murda!" screamed other women on the scene as lawmen surrounded the two resisting males.

The residents and the police continued to engage in a heated argument over the attempts to arrest both males.

The mother of the younger man told OBSERVER ONLINE that her son was eventually arrested and taken to the Elleston Road police station.

"A hear mi hear the noise and when mi come round here mi see one a di policeman a pepper-spray mi son. So mi a ask him, 'A weh him a pepper-spray mi pickney fah? Yuh have no reason fi a do dat'," she said. 

Up to the time of publication, it was not ascertained whether the two males have been charged for any offence arising from Thursday's incident.

The male eyewitness recounted that the police visited the community that morning and enquired if a house in the area belonged to a man known as 'Bull'. In addition, the witness said the police asked him whether he was paying 'Bull' rent.

The man shared that he told the officer that he was not paying any rent to 'Bull', but instead to a "Rasta man up the road".

"Dem (the police) search the yard finish, and went out here. When dem went out here, here comes Bull coming up di road on the bicycle. Him don't do anything. Him just coming up di road," he explained. 

"An officer went to him and decide to search him right, and all he said to the officer [is] 'Leggo mi bag mek mi cum off a di bicycle first.'... Same time him likkle son is there standing up right. Dem shubbing away his son from him.

"One a di police dem tek up a piece a something like a whip and start to beat di young man with the whip," the man alleged.

Some residents are also alleging that they were pepper-sprayed during the incident.

Meanwhile, the man expressed his frustration at what he said was the police "taking set" on the residents of Top Road in Franklyn Town. 

"When dem [the police] down di road desso dem come up here come fire di shot dem up here. We tiad a it now... Di person who control di police dem need to leggo now! Leggo! Everything weh happen a we dem tek set pan up yah so!" declared the Top Road resident.

Another resident of the area described the situation as "a total disgrace", claiming that the police were "taking sides".

"Right now a fed up of this thing. Totally fed up! We want police to come and do police work and not come and have side. No!" he said.

"... The people are living in fear because of what is going on. So, please a want the law enforcement to do something about this," he appealed.

For her part, Charmaine Daniels, the Councillor for the Allman Town Division, in which Franklyn Town is situated, upbraided the police for their actions during the altercation with the residents. 

"What happened today (Thursday) shouldn't happen, and as much as I condemn criminal activity in every shape and form, this nuh have nothing to do with criminality," she declared.

"This what happen today is not good for the community. Police can't just go round a tear gas people so... Is not like a stream a people a come down on dem fi dem do that. Is not like we a war against the police," she continued. 

Daniels, in the meantime, urged the police to rebuild their trust with the citizens of the area, noting that "good community policing is the way to go in any community".

"We need back proper community policing in Franklyn Town, more so [in the] inner city. If we have it on the table, and use the programme of community policing in communities, trust me it will bring about a healthy lifestyle. It can be corrected because it usually worked, and we enjoyed the partnership with the police," she asserted.

She added: "The police need to build back some trust with residents, because it cannot continue like this. Is not hooligan alone live in Franklyn Town; you have decent law abiding citizens. 

"This nuh suppose to happen again. Communication is key and community policing is the way forward to fight crime and violence in a community," the Allman Town councillor said.