Police Kill Again: Who will be next?
JFJ is deeply disturbed and saddened by yet another apparently senseless murder and allegation of police brutality and killing, this time of Andre Thomas, an 18-year-old man from Grants Pen.
The incident occurred on Friday, September 28, 2007, near 7 B Grants Pen Road where Andre Thomas and a group of young men were hanging out. Reports indicate that Andre was abused and shot by police after he refused their order to go home. Eyewitnesses, including Andre’s father Philbert Thomas who helped put Andre in the police car, state that the police shot Andre twice in the leg and once in the elbow then put him in their vehicle to drive him to Kingston Public Hospital (KPH). The police refused to allow Mr. Thomas to go with his son in the police vehicle. By the time Mr. Thomas got to KPH he found his son dead and saw that he had two additional bullet wounds, one in the abdomen and one in the chest. Andre?s family and the community are convinced that this was cold-blooded murder.
The police, as per usual, have a different story and claim they opened fired only after one of the men in the group pointed a gun at them and that a gun was later found in Andre’s hand.
JFJ is very concerned that Andre’s death will be just another of the more than 1500 deaths at the hands of police over the past ten years that have not been properly investigated and for which the officers involved have not be held accountable.
JFJ asks that the new Minister of Security, the Honourable Derrick Smith, act urgently to ensure effective investigation, and effective prosecution as necessary, of the police officers involved in this and every other police shooting. It is vital that visible, effective action be taken so that the trust of the citizens that justice will be done, even in cases that involve the police, can be restored. Failure to do so will have horrific consequences for the whole fabric of the society.
Mr. Minister, you need to tell the people of Jamaica how you will keep us safe from our own police force.
For more information contact:
Carolyn Gomes: (876) 755-4524-6/382-8583
Susan Goffe: (876) 815-3648/970-4224