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INDECOM to get police statements on St James inmate's death today

Published:Friday | August 8, 2014 | 10:19 AM

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) says police personnel are to provide it with statements today regarding the sudden death of a St James man on Wednesday while he was in their custody.

Thirty-one-year-old Mario Dean died from an alleged beating he received while in custody at the Barnett Street Police Station in Montego Bay, St James.

He was taken into custody on Sunday after he was allegedly held by the police with a ganja spliff.

There are mixed reports about how the construction worker received his injuries with the police saying he was beaten by inmates and relatives saying they were told police personnel were involved in the beating.

INDECOM says it began a probe into Dean’s death on Sunday when a report of an injury in custody was made directly to it.

It says within hours of the incident, its investigators recorded statements from civilians; conducted brief interviews with the concerned officers; and served them with Notices to furnish the Commission with their statements.

INDECOM also says its Forensic Team examined the incident scene, collecting exhibits and taking photographs.

And it says a copy of Dean's medical report was also requested from the Cornwall Regional Hospital.

INDECOM says it will be seeking to find out whether the actions or the omissions of the police contributed to the injury and subsequent death of Dean.

According to INDECOM the State is obligated to take steps to secure the right to life of a person in custody.

It says this means that while persons are in their custody the police must ensure they are not abused, that they are protected from other inmates and protected from themselves.

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Jamaica Gleaner