Sat | Feb 23, 2019

Deadly police shootings down out west - INDECOM

Published:Wednesday | January 16, 2019 | 12:00 AMHopeton Bucknor/ Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

While the region remains a significant challenge to the security forces, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) is reporting that there was a major decline in fatal shootings by members of the security forces in western Jamaica in 2018.

In an interview with The Gleaner, Errol Chattoo, the director of complaints for INDECOM Western Region office, said that whereas a total of 50 civilians were fatally shot by the police in 2017, the number slid to 37 last year.

"We have seen a significant decrease in police fatal shootings across western Jamaica between 2017 and 2018," said Chattoo, in providing the figures outlining the comparison. "When one looks at St James, where 28 civilians were fatally shot in 2017, we had 17 less in 2018, as the number dropped to 11."

Inspired by the numbers, Chattoo said that INDECOM wants the police to be cognisant of how they use force, as the organisation is committed to continuing their push to encourage professional behaviour.

"INDECOM continues to encourage members of the security forces to execute their functions in a professional manner, and we also encourage citizens to comply with the lawful command of members of the security forces," said Chattoo.

INDECOM secured one high-profile conviction in 2018 in the western region, when Senior Superintendent of Police Anthony Castell, who was arrested and charged with the shooting of a pregnant woman, was found guilty. He escaped jail time but was fined $1 million.

INDECOM West is currently pursuing other cases against the security forces, including the controversial killing of three members of one family in Shrewsbury, Westmoreland, in 2013.