Fri | Sep 30, 2016

Fire and fury

Published:Sunday | January 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The police argued that the fiery protest was unfortunate and needless as it was a clear case of the men being shot after they attempted to avoid arrest following calls from residents about a robbery.

"When the police responded, the robbers were pointed out by citizens. The police then attempted to apprehend the robbers when the deceased (Richards) pulled a gun while Dickson attacked the police with a knife. We recovered a Taurus 9mm pistol, and a magazine containing five 9mm rounds," Superintendent Lascelles Taylor, head of the Manchester police, reported.

But the residents told a different story as they demanded justice.

Burning tyres, blocked roads and hundreds of angry placard-bearing demonstrators brought the curtains down on the annual Alligator Pond New Year's Day festivities about 9:30 p.m.

The residents claimed the two men were law-abiding persons and innocent victims of trigger-happy policemen.

A female resident told The Sunday Gleaner that she passed the two men sitting on a boat in front of their homes and moments later she heard several policemen demanding to search them.

She said there was a brief conversation between the men and the police before she heard what sounded like gunfire.

According to the woman, she and others rushed to the boat where they saw the men on the ground and the police with a knife.

She said it was later determined that Richard was dead and Dickson had sustained several gunshot wounds. According to the woman, no gun was seen on, or near, the men at the time as the police claimed.

very surprised

Another resident, Marcia Jackson, said she was very surprised to hear that the two men were involved in any "wrongdoings" as they have always been hard-working and involved in the nearby Downs community football team.

Members of the Police High Command, member of parliament for South Manchester, Michael Peart, and Councillor Darlton Brown converged on the area amid billowing smoke from fires set by the residents and tear gas discharged by the police.

In the meantime, Superintendent Taylor said the Bureau of Special Investigations is conducting an investigation into the incident while police personnel involved have had their hands swabbed and have been taken off front-line duties.

He also appealed to persons who witnessed the incident to aid the investigation by "coming forward and giving statements".

The fatal police shooting in Alligator Pond came hours after the cops killed two men in separate incidents in Clarendon on New Year's Day.

George Francis, 30, otherwise called 'Bad Dog', of Halse Hall, and Robert Clarke, otherwise called 'Bobby' of Nelson Street, were killed in reported confrontations with the police.

A shotgun with serial number erased and a Taurus 9mm pistol with a magazine containing sixteen 9mm cartridges were reportedly seized by the police in the two incidents.