Glenroy Sinclair, Assignment Coordinator
THE USE of deadly force by the police was questioned again yesterday following the shooting of two men, who residents claimed were killed in controversial circumstances by the police, in the Payne Avenue community of South St Andrew.
"After 16 reported incidents of criminal-police confrontations, 22 civilians have been killed and 18 illegal firearms seized over the past 18 days," said Kahmile Reid, senior public relations officer, of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), the body charged with the responsibility for probing actions by members of the security forces.
Residents of the Uganda Drive area of the community woke up yesterday morning to the explosive sounds of gunshots. Some who peeped through the cracks of their windows claimed that they saw the police removing the bodies of two men from a house into a service vehicle.
While the police have confirmed that two men were killed in a confrontation with the lawmen, INDECOM has since identified the deceased as 19-year-old Tevin Rose of a Greater Portmore address, St Catherine, and Shoyan Bird of a Tanzania Park address in the Payne Avenue area.
The Gleaner has learnt that INDECOM has since interviewed and swab the hands of four policemen involved in the incident. They have also processed the scene of the shooting and the bodies of the deceased. The lawmen have been given by the latest Monday to submit a statement.
"Two shots woke me up, then I heard about five more. I then look out and saw when the police put the bodies in a jeep," a resident of the community told The Gleaner yesterday.
The residents are charging that the men were killed while they slept. A few women who claimed they captured images of the policemen in action said their phones were taken away by the police.
A preliminary report by the Constabulary Communication Network said police party went into the area in search of men who were wanted for the murder of Kirk Forsythe, otherwise called 'Chef' of the Olympic Gardens area. Forsythe was killed last year.
During the operation, the two men were killed in a confrontation with the police. Two illegal firearms were seized, a sub-machine gun and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol.