Warrant for Rogue Police Officers Sends Important Message, say Rights Activists
Kingston, Jamaica—Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) is delighted with the recent verdict in the murder case of Fitzroy Whitter. On November 15, a Coroner’s Jury found that two policemen are to be charged in connection with Mr. Whitter’s death.
The two police officers, Cpl. Melvin Ellington # 2039 and Kajel Taylor # 7652, were formerly with the Special Anti Crime Task Force (SACTF). Mr. Taylor has since left the JCF and is believed to be living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“Fitzroy Whitter was the victim of an extra-judicial killing in 2003 and it’s only now that his family is getting some justice. This sends an important— if somewhat delayed message—that rogue police officers will be held accountable for their actions,” said JFJ executive director Dr. Carolyn Gomes. “We hope that the authorities will make the necessary arrangements to serve the warrant on Mr. Taylor, wherever he is.”
On October 1, 2003, Mr. Whitter and other members in theRockyValleycommunity were at at the local standpipe when police arrived to conduct an operation. When the gunfire began, like everyone else, Mr. Whitter ran. The police officers reported that Mr. Whitter was shot and killed after he and three other gunmen engaged them in a shoot out. However, eyewitnesses indicated that Mr. Whitter ran into a yard where he had difficulty opening the gate and pleaded for his life before being shot by the two officers.
Dr. Gomes pointed out that since 2006 more than 1000 citizens have been killed by police officers in Jamaica. Yet, only one police officer has been convicted of murder in the last 10 years.
“Our police officers are responsible for upholding the law. They have a very strong Use of Force Policy which allows them to fire ONLY if their lives or the lives of others are immediately threatened. Yet day after day there are reports of police shootings in circumstances which appear unjustifiable and indefensible. The police must know that ‘they cannot murder murder’ and they too must – and will – be held accountable for breaking the law. If they aren’t, anarchy will reign in Jamaica,” said Dr. Gomes.