JFJ Press Release: One in Five Killings in Jamaica Committed by Security Forces

One in Five Killings in Jamaica Committed by Security Forces

Kingston, Jamaica—Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) is appalled by at least one aspect of the reality behind the recently released official police crime statistics for 2010.    The statistics for police fatal shootings showed a total of 309 which represents an increase of 8 over the 301 total fatal shootings reported up to the 12th December 2010.  This figure is almost 20% higher than the total of 263 fatal police shootings in 2009.  This total does not include the (at least) 73 persons killed during the Tivoli ‘Incursion’.

309 persons killed by police in one year is an appalling figure by itself.  Add to that figure the 2 persons killed by Soldiers and  the ‘official’ Tivoli figure of 73 and we arrive at a total of ALMOST 400 persons who were shot and killed by our Security Forces in 2010.  This effectively means that MORE THAN 20% of the killings in Jamaica last year occurred at the hands of the Security Forces.

MORE THAN ONE IN FIVE Jamaicans who died violently last year died at the hands of the State.

This appalling statistic cannot be allowed to remain unaddressed.   It requires immediate and effective action from all levels of leadership.  As Asma Jahangir, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Extra Judicial Killings said after her visit to Jamaica  “a high crime rate is not an excuse for the excessive use of force on the part of State authorities”.  She called on “all levels of the Government…[to] make stronger efforts to condemn all forms of misuse of force by the security forces and [make] no attempt…to protect those accused of extrajudicial executions”.

JFJ reminds the authorities that, as was stated in the PERF Report, “No police agency can expect to have its public join them in efforts to fight crime, if the police are, themselves, believed to be corrupt or involved in questionable shootings.”

JFJ is demanding that the Commissioner of Police immediately tell the nation what he intends to do to halt this appalling rate of fatal shootings by his men.  JFJ warns that it will vehemently protest any attempt by him to promote any police officer under investigation for the killing of civilians.  The Minister of National Security must tell the nation what measures will be put in place to ensure that senior police officers are held accountable for this unacceptable level of fatal killings and what he intends to do to institute EFFECTIVE police reform.  JFJ also calls on the citizenry to insist on policing that is accountable, effective and professional.  Policing that builds peace rather than sowing seeds of violence.