Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Tivoli lawsuit blasts JCF, JDF for 'acting in bad faith'

Published:Friday | June 3, 2016 | 6:00 AMLivern Barrett
Marjorie Williams, mother of Fernando and Fabian Grant, who were allegedly killed by police and soldiers during the Tivoli incursion in 2010, burst into tears when she gave testimony at the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry in September last year.

Police and military personnel involved in the May 2010 operations in west Kingston "acted in bad faith" by exercising their public power for improper motives, two lawsuits filed against the State have claimed.

The claims were brought by the Administrator General's Department (AGD), acting on behalf of the estates of 17-year-old Fernando Grant, a former student at Denham Town High School, and his 20-year-old brother, Fabian Grant. A total of 30 claims have so far been filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of the estates of persons killed during the operation.

The brothers died of gunshot wounds, the AGD asserted in court documents, which were inflicted by masked policemen.

"They were taken across the road [from their Tivoli Gardens home] and placed in the custody of members of the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) and ordered to kneel with their hands on their heads," the AGD charged in the court documents obtained by The Gleaner.

"The deceased and his brother were taken to 23 Dee Cee Avenue by masked policemen, where they were both executed. The deaths were caused by the wilful and deliberate acts of members of the JCF," the document continued.

The commissioner of police and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) are listed among the respondents.

The AGD was critical of the way the operation was conducted, charging that in the purported discharge of their duties, police and military personnel "openly and maliciously" separated Fernando Grant from his family "on the pretext that he and his brother were to be detained".

CONCEALED IDENTITY

It also asserted that the JCF and the JDF conducted the operation - aimed at capturing drug kingpin Christopher 'Dudus' Coke - in a manner that deliberately concealed the identity of members of the security forces.

The suit charged that police and military top brass, as well as those under their command, knew that members of the JCF and the JDF were "abusing their public power or [were] recklessly indifferent as to limits or restraint of such powers".

It pointed to the decision of former army chief Major General Stewart Saunders to authorise the use of mortars during the operations as an example. "The second defendant [JDF] admittedly employed the use of high-explosive 81mm mortars by firing 37 such rounds in a residential area without any or sufficient care," the suit claims.

Close to 40 claims have also been filed on behalf of persons who were injured or detained during the operation.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com