JFJ Press Release: JAMAICANS FOR JUSTICE ALARMED BY THE NUMBER OF POLICE KILLINGS SINCE START OF YEA

JAMAICANS FOR JUSTICE ALARMED BY THE NUMBER OF POLICE KILLINGS SINCE START OF YEAR

Monday, January 14, 2013, Kingston, Jamaica – In the first 12 days of 2013, our police force has killed 18 persons. Six persons were killed in less than 24 hours – between last Friday night and Saturday morning.  Of the 45 persons who have died violently thus far this year, 18 have been killed by police. The police have killed 40% of the people who have died.   This statistic is deeply alarming to Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ).

We are also concerned by the Police High Command’s statement regarding the unacceptably high numbers of police killings for the year. It appears that that the High Command continues to be satisfied with operations that result in such high levels of fatal shootings, and feels that in order to reduce levels of murder and violent crimes, there will inevitably be increases in the use of lethal force by the JCF.

We at JFJ are horrified, like most Jamaicans, by the ongoing brutal murders that continue to devastate families, communities and the country at large. We are committed to working for a Jamaica that is a safe place for us all to live, work and raise our families. But we know that we can never achieve that goal by turning a blind eye to possible extrajudicial killings and breaches of the rule of law by agents of the State. And we do not unquestioningly accept the police accounts of fatal shootings, as over the years these accounts have proved unreliable and at times have strained credibility.

Our support for lawful and professional policing in a modern democracy, which is what we contend Jamaica is, does not require us to give blind or unconditional support to the actions of the JCF.

We urge INDECOM to conduct thorough and timely investigations into each incident, and urge anyone with information concerning these incidents to furnish it to INDECOM. While we await the completion of investigations by INDECOM, we have no intention of refraining from voicing our very real concerns about the unacceptably high levels of use of lethal force and demanding that the High Command and the Minister of National Security act to reduce these numbers.

We are calling on the Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting and the Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, to urgently review this situation and call a halt to this unacceptably high level of use of lethal force.   They are responsible for  the actions of members of the JCF and we will continue to hold them accountable and urge all right thinking Jamaicans to join us in this.

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