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A cop's 'terrible choice' - friend's baffled, say rogue policeman's mother raised him well

Published:Sunday | April 5, 2015 | 12:00 AMAdrian Frater
Kemar Beckford, the policeman fatally shot by a colleague during an attempted robbery in Hanover on Saturday.

Western Bureau:      

    While the condemnation in social media has been extremely caustic, persons familiar with the family background of Kemar Beckford, the policeman who was killed while allegedly engaging in a robbery in Hopewell, Hanover, early Saturday morning, are still puzzled by the incident. 

  “We grew up together in Copperwood (Hanover)… his mother grew him well… he never wanted for nothing as a child,” a female acquaintance of the deceased policeman told The Gleaner yesterday. “...When I heard that he was killed and learnt of the circumstances, I just couldn't believe it … that was the last thing I was expecting to hear about Becky (Beckford’s community name).”

 Beckford’s alleged action has cast an ugly shadow over his family, especially his mother, who is the guidance counsellor at a prominent Hanover high school and a well respected member of her community.

 “This woman (Beckford’s mother) spends her life trying to fix the lives of wayward children in her capacity as a guidance counsellor and look how her own child has trashed her reputation… It is such a disgrace,” a teacher, who knows the mother well, told The Gleaner. “Knowing her, she must be hurting real bad and questioning her faith.”

 According to reports, shortly after 1:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, the 25-year-old Beckford, who is a graduate of Rusea’s High School, drove a car, which is believed to be owned by his mother, to the bar in Hanover. There he donned a mask and, with gun in hand, proceeded inside and began to rob patrons.

 An off-duty policeman, who is believed to be a part owner of the establishment, reportedly challenged Beckford and a gunfight ensued. Beckford was killed while his colleague luckily survived with just minor scrapes. A bartender and another patron also suffered bullet wounds.

“The car he drove there was parked about 40 yards from the bar… the engine was left running and the driver-side door was left open,” a police investigator told The Gleaner. “The police have seized the car… it is now at the Lucea Police Station.”

 According to a female friend of the deceased policeman, who asked not be identified, Beckford joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force fresh out of high school as a 19-year-old. Initially, it is said he was quite enthusiastic about the job.

“He was quite focused when he first joined the force,” said the woman. “However, in recent times, he appeared somewhat distracted… I don’t know if it was as a result of him not getting any promotion or what.”

 Unknown to his friends, Beckford had seemingly started going rogue some time ago, based on recent reports from various persons, including a policeman, who claimed he robbed him at gunpoint in Sandy Bay, Hanover, just over two weeks ago.

 However, while the condemnation of Beckford continues to be stinging, his son, believed to be his only child and who has just turned a year old, will grow up not knowing what it is like to share experiences with his father. 

“His baby son will never experience the love he should get from his dad because Becky made such a terrible choice… I don’t really believe in obeah, but I can’t help wondering if a set dem set him so,” said a female friend of the slain policeman.