Tue | Mar 2, 2021

Police claim more than 80 lives

Published:Wednesday | April 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

More than 80 people have been fatally shot by the police since the start of this year, with another 33 individuals nursing gunshot wounds after alleged confrontations between cops and criminals.

Four members of the police force and one member of the Jamaica Defence Force have also been killed since the start of the year.

Official figures from the Bureau of Special Investigations for the period January 1 to April 25 show 83 fatal shootings by the police, up from 76 in the corresponding period last year.

Over the same period, 515 people were murdered by criminals, reflecting a 16 per cent increase over last year.

Mind-boggling

"It is frightening and mind-boggling. It appears that we are trying to murder murder and we are yet to learn that this does not work," Dr Carolyn Gomes, executive director of Jamaicans for Justice, a lobby group which scrutinises state abuse, told The Gleaner in reaction to the figures.

"I am not saying that all fatal shootings by the police are unjustified, because they have to sometimes defend themselves and protect others, but a significant number of the shootings are unjustified and the people know and the police know," Gomes added.

She warned that every extrajudicial killing, by the police makes crime fighting more difficult.

"Every time there is an unjustified killing it distances the police from the people, and every time the system fails to credibly clear the police or credibly convict the police, it reduces trust," said Gomes.

According to the police data, detectives are yet to establish the motives for almost 70 per cent of the murders committed this year.