Nagra Plunkett and Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writers
FOLLOWING HIS death yesterday, the family of Grantley Waite is demanding a public apology from Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas for statements he made which they say only served to downplay the seriousness of the policeman's injuries.
Mr. Waite, who was allegedly beaten by a colleague at the Mount Salem Police Station in November, died at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), 31 days after he was first hospitalised.
"There is going to be a post-mortem and we are going to have an independent pathologist present," said Valerie Waite, the dead policeman's sister.
"Is just pure tears from morning, I don't even know what to say. The family down here grieving. It's time for justice. The person who beat him must get charge for murder."
Dr. Trevor McCarthy, senior medical officer at the KPH, confirmed Mr. Waite's death but said a post-mortem will determine the cause of his death.
Mr. Waite, a corporal, had been assigned to the St. Andrew Central Police Station. He served the Jamaica Constabulary Force for 30 years.
In a statement yesterday, Police Commis-sioner, Lucius Thomas, stated that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Kent Pantry, Q.C., will be asked to make a ruling on the case. He assured that "the file will be handed over to the DPP no later than Wednesday, December 21."
SIGNED REPORTS HANDED OVER
The statement said that the investigation, including the signed reports of the doctors involved with treating Corporal Waite, had been officially handed over to him on Wednesday afternoon.
The release also expressed condolences to the daughter of Corporal Waite and other members of the family.
Commissioner Thomas had come under fire in recent weeks from Mr. Waite's family for statements he made one week after the incident. Speaking at a church service in Montego Bay, he had said that medical reports suggested that Mr. Waite's condition was not a result of the beating he received.
In the meantime, the corporal's girlfriend of four years, Cecelia Edwards, is almost
distraught with grief.
"I just trying to cope. I don't know how I am going to face the house because we
usually live together," she told The Gleaner.
"He was doing fine after the operations but on Wednesday the doctors said he was anaemic. From Sunday he was having diarrhoea, which worsened on Wednesday based on what I saw in his diapers, because he had to be wearing them since the beating."
At the time of the November 15 incident, Cpl. Waite had been staying with his sister in Green Island, Hanover, where he was recuperating on a 10-day sick leave for a wound to the head. He went to the Mount Salem Police Station in St. James and asked for water. He was refused because he did not show proper identification, but went ahead and took the water from the station refrigerator. It was then that he was allegedly beaten by another policeman.