Thu | Apr 27, 2017

Police abuse must stop now!

Published:Wednesday | August 27, 2014 | 8:00 AM
Winston Green, Guest Columnist

Winston Green, Guest Columnist

The Mario Deane case is not an isolated one. It's not a unique one, it's just the most recent one. If the police responsible, directly or indirectly, for his death walk free, it will not be an isolated judgment. It will be a unique verdict, and will just be the most recent one.

The worst part of it is that the cycle will just continue as it has been since the police FORCE was established. It will only be befitting if we rename the police FORCE 'The Untouchables', although we would be broad-brushing to also colour the decent men and women who are there and attempting to separate themselves from the illegal actions of their colleagues.

My most recent encounter with this kind of cruel, brutal and abusive member of The Untouchables ... er, I mean the police FORCE, occurred in a part of the constituency I represent, Annotto Bay, on Wednesday, August 20, 2014. The story goes that a young man fell victim a week before to hoodlums who inflicted wounds, sending him to the Annotto Bay Hospital. Rather than seeking to take matters into his own hands, he decided, rightly so, to work with the police on the matter. Barely able to move around with his neck area still with stitches, he went to the Annotto Bay Police Station to lodge his report.

disrespectful

The station was a bit crowded by onlookers to a sideshow, so the area was being cleared by a cop who, it is alleged, was doing so in a disrespectful manner. The complainant decided to voice his objection to the manner his fellow community folks were being treated by exclaiming that the cop should not deal with people like that. The policeman, it is alleged, in a show of brutality and disrespect, kicked the injured complainant out of the police station.

Upon receiving knowledge of the incident, I phoned both the young man and the inspector in charge to get both sides of the story. The inspector was out, so I went by the station in person where another policeman 'privately' gave me an account of what took place, which not only sounded similar to the version of the complainant but that cop also succinctly expressed objection to his colleague's action and advised that a statement regarding the matter be lodged by the complainant.

Feeling satisfied that justice was about to take its course, I exited the station and addressed the irate gathering of about 15 persons, assuring them of the procedure being followed and that I would follow up on the matter, and appealed to them to return to their homes. I left the town only to learn later that the roads were blocked in various areas for about a mile.

Too long have I, growing from a Jamaican youth into a Jamaican man, witnessed or heard these stories of abuse and wrongful killing by the Jamaican police FORCE. The decades of brutality, indignity, disrespect, injustice and inhumane treatment meted out to our citizens must now stop!

Maybe, just maybe, if this incident had escalated further; and maybe, just maybe, if, out of genuine disgust, embarrassment, and frustration with the system the young man had exclaimed, "That's why mi nuh like police eenuh!" he would have become another Mario Deane.

Having risen to become a member of the 'Palace', I cannot just help to guard the 'Palace' and reinforce the status quo. I would rather be counted among the voices of those calling for change.

Police abuses, excesses and extrajudicial killings must stop now!

Dr Winston Green (DDS) is member of parliament for South East St Mary. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.