Cops put M16 in injured teen's hand before shooting him, soldier testifies
A member of the Jamaican military has testified that he saw a police constable place a police force-issued M16 rifle in the hands of an injured 18-year-old boy, then handed the weapon back to his colleague, who used it to kill the teen.
According to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) corporal, the wounded teenager, Ravin Thompson, who was from the inner-city community of Whitfield Town in St Andrew, had no weapon, made no threats, and directed no violence towards the constables before the shooting.
He testified, too, that moments after Thompson was pronounced dead at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), a man he later learnt was a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) asked to speak to him and other soldiers who witnessed the shooting.
"He said that we as soldiers and the police must be saying the same thing," the soldier recounted. "I shook my head and indicated 'no', and then I walked away from where they were standing."
The police reported at the time that the 18-year-old was killed in a shootout between the police and gunmen in Whitfield Town.
The disturbing evidence came in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston yesterday as one of the now former constables, Mark Russell, went on trial for murder, almost 10 years after the July 2007 killing.
Prosecutors have asked that the soldier's identity be withheld. The other former policeman, Morris Lee, remains at large.
Russell fled the island before the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions ruled that he should be charged with murder. He created history in 2015 when he became the first Jamaican to be extradited from the United States to stand trial for a criminal offence.
The JDF corporal acknowledged, during cross-examination by Russell's attorney Michael Jordan, that Thompson was found with a gunshot wound to the chest moments after he fired 11 bullets at a man, armed with a pistol, who was standing "an arm's length away" from the teen.
"Could it have been you that shot Mr Thompson on Alexander Avenue?" Jordan asked the soldier.
"I could not say, sir," he replied.