Mon | Sep 26, 2022

Rid Jamaica of killer cops!

Published:Monday | February 22, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Horace Levy, Contributor

Apart from the killer cops and their adherents, there is no one in Jamaica who does not welcome the prime minister's putting the establishment of a Commission of Independent Persons, for the investigation of killings by police, on Parliament's agenda.

The only question is: how long will it be before this body actually begins to function?

After all, this commission has been talked about for years. And, in the meantime, the killings will keep on happening when really they should and could stop.

If the murder rate in this country is horrific - five a day most days - the killings by police is another horror story - five a week, over 1,000 in the last four years, with probably 650 of those "extra-judicial", in plain language, "murdered".

On February 12, in lower Whitfield Town, Oneil, known as 'Ouse', was gunned down by police a few minutes after serving other police in his bar. Two weeks before that, it was 'Tallman' and two other youth in a yard in Federal Gardens (Trench Town), probably look-outs in a corner crew rivalry. Four months ago, it was Clive in his bed in Majesty Gardens. The list is long and I could name many of them - positive leaders in many cases, certainly not 'wanted' or convicted.

Pure lie

'Shoot-out' is pure lie! It is murder in the bedroom, the bathroom and the open yard. And the media are complaisant - rarely checking. The fact that sometimes criminals are defended by a biased crowd is taken as the rule for every occasion. The media must wake up. The far more important fact - blotted out, it seems, by myth and numbing frequency - is that, most times, these people on the television screens are real people, feeling real grief, shedding real tears, talking the honest truth.

Nobody believes that the commissioner of police and the minister of national security, because of police rules, cannot remove 'killer cops' from the streets. It is just not credible! If they are really helpless, what are they there for? What is the Parliament for? Just talk, talk, talk?

What kind of "security" is this for the poorest citizens of this country? Of the 1,500 shootings and fatalities by police between 1999 and 2007, only 134 were brought to trial and 10 convicted. No wonder the killing rate climbs and community policing is pushed aside.

We must understand something: The example of cruelty and killing set by the State on the streets, in the prisons and in courtrooms is spinning the wheel of violence in this country. If my life is worthless - which is the State's message - then so is yours, so is everybody's. Police killings at present levels is State terror. And, far from preventing criminal gang killings, it is one of their causes.

And it is unbearable. We shall keep shouting it out. The cry for justice, for human concern, will not go away. God knows. He himself shouted it.

Horace Levy is a senior member of the Peace Management Initiative.