Fri | Apr 3, 2020

Renewed hope for justice - Sister of victim of police killing encouraged by gov't talks

Published:Friday | March 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Shackelia Jackson
Protesters outside Jamaica House in St Andrew yesterday demanding accountability from the Government for extrajudicial killings by the police. Among those lending support were relatives of Mario Deane, whose image is on this banner carried by protesters. Deane died from injuries sustained allegedly from detainees while in a police lock-up in Montego Bay in August 2014.

Shackelia Jackson, sister of Nakiea Jackson - the 29-year-old restaurant owner who was fatally shot by the police in Orange Villa, Kingston four years ago yesterday expressed renewed hope in her quest for justice.

This, she says, after a meeting with a delegation, led by Dr Horace Chang, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), resulted in the State expressing its willingness to cooperate and communicate with families of persons killed unlawfully by the police.

With Thursday being recognised as International Day against Police Brutality, the meeting, which lasted for over an hour, centred on police reform and access to justice.

Family members of persons killed by the police and representatives from Amnesty International and Jamaicans for Justice stood across from Jamaica House to accompany Shackelia to deliver a petition - which had gathered more than 60,000 signatures and half a million actions worldwide - calling for police and judicial reform that would give families justice and protection.

"It was a meeting that showed willingness for cooperation, that the Government is open to making the necessary changes as it relates to justice and police reform," Jackson said "They (Government) underscored that human rights are at the forefront and centre of the Government's mission and its efforts to create a society that is habitable. So it furthers the hope that I have, not just for my brother, but the other families," she said.

"I have no recollection of any family member of victims being entertained or listened to by heads of the state in any formal capacity," Jackson. "So with this ground being broken, that, for me, speaks to promise. What is vital is that it also creates that space to have ongoing dialogue where families could, perhaps, play a consultative role in terms of how the legislation and policies are enacted or influenced," she added.