ONLY A court of law can ultimately determine whether the policemen who were video-recorded beating, and eventually shooting to death, a murder suspect are guilty of an offence.
But we, too - as we presume is the case with the majority of Jamaicans who saw the television images of last Friday's incident - are outraged by what appears to have been not only the use of excessive force, but an act of impunity by those who are sworn to uphold the law and the system of justice to which they ought now to be subjected.
Indeed, even persons like Ian Lloyd, or Chin Sing as he was called, should, whatever the allegations against them, expect to receive the full protection of the law and be presumed innocent until a judge or jury of their peers has pronounced.
In that regard, we welcome the dispatch with which the police chief, Mr Owen Ellington, ordered the arrest of the officers involved in the incident and the concerns expressed, not only by Mr Ellington, but also by the Police Federation, of the potential of the case to worsen the already-damaged image of the constabulary.
This case will, to many, serve as confirmation that Jamaica's police force is deeply corrupt and routinely engages in extrajudicial killings.
We agree with Mr Ellington about the courage of the citizen who not only shot the video but exposed it to public scrutiny, thereby making it available to the authorities as potential evidence.
Actions like these, assuming that what has been shown is the real account and represents the true context of the event, can help to arrest misbehaviour by police officers and aid in ridding the constabulary of corruption.
But Mr Ellington will appreciate that there is genuine fear on the part of people who witness criminal events that they might suffer untoward consequences, if they tell what they see. Mr Ellington, therefore, has a job to ensure that the person who shot that video is not the victim of some deadly 'accident', remains in relatively good health and avoids the fate of the DJ who went by the name of Kentucky Kid.
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