Third death from Clarendon incident, more protestsMonday, June 14, 2021
CLARENDON, Jamaica — Residents blocked the roads in Hayes for a second straight day today as word emerged that a third person had died from Saturday night's incident that left six others injured.
Meanwhile, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has begun a full investigation into the matter.
Devonte Johnson died at the Kingston Public Hospital last night while undergoing treatment. According to his mother Charmaine Adams, the 17-year-old Vere Technical High School student was expected to sit a major test today in preparation for the CSEC external examinations.
Johnson was among a group of nine travelling in a Nissan AD Wagon headed for Lionel Town on Saturday night when, according to police reports, a team of lawmen doing spot checks signalled the vehicle to stop. The driver reportedly disobeyed and later collided with a light pole in the vicinity of the Watsonton Church.
Two people were pronounced dead on arrival at hospital: 21-year-old Kevaughn Salmon and his 17-year-old cousin Janoy Blair.
Irate residents have refuted police accounts, saying shots were fired at the car, without provocation. The police later insisted that though they returned fire, no one was shot. They have also stressed that the car in which the group was travelling had no bullet holes.
INDECOM's director of complaints for the central region Dave Lewin has stressed that their investigation will seek to determine exactly what happened.
"A full forensic examination of the incident scene was conducted to include the processing of the… Nissan AD Wagon. Some occupants of the vehicle were swabbed for gunshot residue and as far as our investigation is concerned, there are no weapons that were reported to have been recovered from this incident. Witness statements were recorded so far from two of the survivors which would have given us an account of what transpired," he said.
According to Lewin a medical report, which includes post mortem examinations, records of injuries and doctors reports, will also be assessed to determine the nature and possible cause of injuries sustained by all nine occupants of the vehicle.
"The officers involved in the incident were also interviewed and will be required to give statements and to attend our offices for interviews. Their weapons were collected and boxed and sealed for testing at the Government laboratory. Our investigation continues and an update will be provided as soon as we have more details," he added.
Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Area 3, Michael Smith met with residents today.
"We had conversations with them to ensure they understand the side of the police, and the police to understand them so we can work together in harmony to reach a resolution to the issues as they may arise," he said. He added that efforts were being made to ensure there is no erroneous information being bandied about regarding the incident.
"In law enforcement there is an investigative process and until that process is completed, you're not going to get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that we are living in a technological age and everybody has an opinion about something that has happened. We want the people to know that the investigation by INDECOM will address some of those concerns that members of the public would have had.”
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