Corrupt Jamaican Police

31May08


Amnesty blasts police corruption in Jamaica
published 30th May 2008
all credits: Jamaica Gleaner

Human rights lobby group Amnesty International, has again castigated Jamaica’s constabulary for hundreds of extrajudicial killings and instances of police abuse. In its annual report, released Wednesday, Amnesty said police brutality worsened last year, noting that between January and September, there were 203 police killings of mainly young men from the inner city.

“Although the police routinely claimed these killings occurred during shoot-outs with criminal gangs, eyewitness accounts often alleged police had extrajudicially executed victims. Corruption and distrust of the police remained the norm,” the rights activist group said in its report.

Police abuse

The report also noted that the pattern of impunity for police abuse and lack of accountability continued in both the security and justice systems, citing the cases of Ravin Thompson and André Thomas as examples. Eighteen-year-old Ravin Thompson was allegedly shot and killed by the security forces while standing at his aunt’s gate in Whitfield Town, south St Andrew, last July while trhe lawmen chased a man in the area.
Thomas, 18, was killed by cops in Grants Pen. According to Amnesty, he was still conscious when he was put into the police car to be taken to hospital. Thomas was pronounced dead at hospital.

Reacting to the report, Minister of National Security, Colonel Trevor MacMillan, said he would be seeking to improve the human rights record of the police force, noting that a number of initiatives would be taken to revamp its image.
While reluctant to divulge details on his strategies, MacMillan said whistle-blower legislation would be an important apparatus. The legislation is now before Parliament.

“It will allow members of the force to be protected when they report their colleagues, so that’s going to be very important,” said the minister, who recently replaced Derrick Smith.

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