MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Attorney Oswest Senior-Smith is calling on the Manchester police to be transparent in their investigation of last Friday’s mob killing of 62-year-old Chieftin Campbell in Mandeville.
Senior-Smith has been retained by Campbell’s family to monitor the probe by the police and represent the family’s interest.
“There are lots of questions to be answered, based on all that has happened and the videos that I personally have [seen]. There is an information vacuum right now from the authorities,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.
Campbell, who was described as a well-respected citizen and dedicated resident of Victoria Town in southern Manchester, died after a crowd of people beat him on lower Manchester Road, days before his wedding, which was planned for tomorrow.
Police theorise that his killing was a case of mistaken identity.
However, Senior-Smith said the police have been tight-lipped regarding their investigation and suggested that a press conference be convened to shed light on the pace of the probe.
“We need to know whether or not we are being provided with additional footage from CCTV systems in and around the area in Mandeville,” he said.
“We need to know if some of the cellphone recordings and clips that we have seen, whether those people are coming forward. I think the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and particularly the Manchester Division, they need to perhaps convene a press conference and actively reach out to members of the public with a view to them coming in and assisting the process of this investigation. That is what we really need to see,” he added.
Head of the Manchester police Superintendent Lloyd Darby told the Observer on Tuesday that no arrests have so far been made in relation to the killing.
He said a taxi driver, who had attempted to make a citizen’s arrest, had been interviewed and his statement recorded.
“I cannot get into our investigative strategy with the media,” Darby said.
However, during last Saturday’s protest by Victoria Town residents, who used debris and downed trees to block sections of the main road in their community, the police were being blamed for their response in handcuffing Campbell.
“Police handcuffed the man and the man telling [the police] that he is diabetic and it is tight around his hand,” Verna Brooks-Hudson said on Saturday.
On Monday, commissioner of the Independent Commission of Investigations Hugh Faulkner explained that the commission is probing the police’s intervention and subsequent arrest of Campbell.
“Part of our mandate [is that] once a person dies in police custody… we have to investigate. We are also looking at the nature of the response, given that [he] was injured,” said Faulkner.