A mother's grief
Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
"Me feel like me a guh dead! A dead mi a guh dead!" declared 53-year-old Naomi McCloud.
She was still in shock following the death of her seventh child on Saturday, the injury of another and the alleged attempt on the life of a third.
"When me look and see har lie down wid di big belly before har. A me afi mek doctor look pon dem because di police carry dem go fling dem down. If me neva do dat, the other one woulda bleed out," she lamented.
On Saturday, her three daughters - Kay-Ann, Novia and Shemean Lamont - had just returned from back-to-school shopping in downtown Kingston, and stopped by their cousin Byron Williams' stall at Yallahs Square in St Thomas. They were awaiting a robot taxi to head home to Logwood.
"Kay-Ann a cuss a tell her cousin how dem rob har downtown and say 'b...c...'," she said.
McCloud said the police officer, who was on patrol with a group of others, overheard and told 27-year-old Kay-Ann that she could be arrested for using indecent language. She reportedly responded that everyone used them and broke down the two words and asked him what they meant.
Shot twice in the head
The officer reportedly then held on to her hand and attempted to take her to the police station a few yards away. She resisted and her sisters protested. In the attempt to take her to the station, eight months pregnant Kay-Ann and the officer reportedly fell in the road.
Eyewitnesses said they began to laugh, which later turned to screams as the officer just "get vex and jump up", brandished his firearm and shot the pregnant mother of two twice in the head while she was still on the ground. He then reportedly turned his gun on Novia, who attempted to run, hitting her in the left shoulder.
Witnesses said he then turned the gun on Shemean, who ran and hid behind a market vendor.
"The woman hold up har hand and sey me not involve officer," Williams said. "Believe me, if one a di other officer neva grab him from behind and hold on pon him, him woulda kill di three a dem. One a di officer him run when him hear di shot dem."
Shemean told The Gleaner: "Me tink him did a guh kill di three a we. Me affi hide behind the woman and couldn't come out ... . Me still can't believe what happen."
Novia was hospitalised.
Yesterday angry family members, friends and residents of Yallahs gathered in the square in protest, bearing placards and attempted to block Market Road. Heavily armed police officers were deployed to keep the irate protesters in check, who rained a barrage of angry words, laced with expletives, on the officers.
The protesters called for justice, some demanding that they hand over the accused officer to them to deliver their own justice.
"A di second time now police kill a pregnant woman in Yallahs!" one shouted.
"This is spiteful and wicked, wicked, wicked!"
Deputy Superintendent Patrick Bennett, in charge of operations for St Thomas, tried to appease their anger.
"The community is hurting really badly and it is no different with members of the force who he works with, plus we ourselves are members of the community," Bennett shared with The Gleaner.
"We are willing to do whatever it takes to come to a resolution. We know that it is going to be difficult so we have to work with the community, visit with them, speak with them, pray with them. We have to do just about everything to ensure that moving on from here, we not only get the community and the police closer together, but we can reach a situation where this type of incident does not happen again."
Following a closed-door meeting at the Yallahs Police Station, McCloud said nothing could ease the pain of what happened to her daughters, but she was consoled by the comforting words of some of the officers, who faithfully promised that justice would be served.
"Kay-Ann is so nice and humble and very jovial. Everybody always talk 'bout her. Dem call her Bollo. Nothing nuh trouble Kay-Ann. A just because she get rob why she cuss di bad word. She nuh deserve dat none at all," said the distressed mother.
After a pause, she noted in a distant tone: "Di doctor dem tell me she and the baby died on the spot."
McCloud said the officers have promised to provide counselling for Kay-Ann's two children, ages five and nine years old.