Police and soldiers yesterday crushed a plan to parade the body of slain gangster Christopher “Dog Paw” Linton through Tavern and neighbouring communities in St Andrew ahead of his interment at Dovecot Memorial Park in St Catherine.
The heavy presence of law enforcers began Thursday night when a wake being held for Linton was shut down and many of those in attendance, including members of his family, were taken away by the police for processing.
Thursday night's actions created tension that carried over into yesterday morning, as livid residents and members of Linton's family expressed disgust at the treatment they received. They claimed that lit candles at the wake were kicked over by police, and people in attendance, including senior citizens, were roughed up and shouted at by cops who, they said, used obscene language.
One woman told the Jamaica Observer that “not even music” was being played Thursday night when the security forces arrived.
Yesterday morning one man said, “Dem come and kick over di candles and seh if we put up anymore, dem kick out wi teeth. Even when you call their superior is the same result. I think the funeral will have to be postponed because of the operation Thursday night. The community can't feel good 'bout dat, enuh. I need to find out if there is a law that says we cannot light candles. They need to cut out the foolishness. I think it is something personal against him.”
Despite some delay and uncertainty, the funeral got under way inside the chapel at Dovecot in the afternoon with more than 50 relatives and close friends in attendance.
Leah Tavares-Finson, the mother of one of Linton's children and daughter of Senate President Tom Tavares-Finson, walked into the chapel with a bottle of Heineken beer. She was teary-eyed throughout majority of her tribute to Linton, whom she described as very loving and caring.
“There is no amount of Heineken I can drink to prepare for this. I have known Christopher since I was 17 years old. We have a son together, and we have had relations in various capacities over the years. One of his favourite things to say was 'Oh, my days.' I never stopped hearing that for 18 years,” she said.
“When the phone rings and I answer it, all you hear is, 'Babymother', and you would know it is some request. He was such a loving, caring and giving protector. He was my protector 'til death, and protector of the children, even my youngest child,” Tavares Finson said in reference to a baby she shares with dancehall artiste Jahvillani.
“We are going to miss him. This is a great loss to Tavern. No matter what anybody says, he was an amazing guy. He loved his community with all his heart. He loved Tavern. He lived and died for Tavern. People always want to understand how I ended up with Chris, but sometimes I think to myself, 'How did he end up with me?' For 18 years he was my best friend. I told him everything. Anytime I had to tell him anything that I know he wouldn't approve of, I just swallowed the cussing, and then take maybe a two-week probation of him not talking to me,” she said.
Linton's girlfriend Crystal, who delivered the eulogy, said “Though times and seasons change, your memory will remain forever in our hearts.”
She said that Linton, who was born on September 30, 1986 at Victoria Jubilee Hospital, was raised in a humble Christian home along with his brothers. He enjoyed playing football, attending Sunday School and watching cartoons.
She said the cartoon he loved the most was Paw Paw Bears and his friends would often tell him that he resembled Dark Paw, one of the cartoon characters. That led to him being given the nickname Dog Paw.
“He was known to his peers to be loving, kind-hearted, friendly, and a jovial individual which undoubtedly made him a lot of friends. He had a passion for nature, which inspired him to become a proud member of his school's environment club. Christopher was very much involved with his Christian beliefs and decided to get baptised at the age of 10,” she said.
Linton, who police say was involved in several serious crimes before he was sent to prison and continued on that path after his release in April this year, was shot dead by cops on John Golding Road in Elletson Flats on October 11, 2021 in what was reported as a firefight with police.
The police had reported that a team of lawmen was searching for a grey vehicle with armed men. In the process, they intercepted a vehicle which had a female driver and a male passenger. Cops said they instructed the occupants to exit the car when 35-year-old Linton reportedly exited the vehicle, pointing a firearm at cops. The police stated that they opened fire at Linton. He was pronounced dead at University Hospital of the West Indies.
A Colt .45 pistol was reportedly recovered from the scene.
The female driver, who Observer sources have confirmed is an insurance agent, was not injured or hospitalised as a result of the incident.