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Al Jazeera turns spotlight on Jamaican police killings

Published:Friday | April 30, 2010 | 12:00 AM

JAMAICA'S REPUTATION for producing alarming murder statistics each year and its propensity for turning out mind-boggling numbers of police killings annually has caught the attention of Al Jazeera, an international television network which gained notoriety for its coverage of terrorist activities in Afghanistan.

Dubbed Vigilante in Uniform, a documentary produced by Al Jazeera, it has painted a picture of deadly turf wars among rival gangs in Jamaica.

It describes Jamaica as one of the "most violent societies on Earth", adding that the country's police force was among the "deadliest in the world".

Al Jazeera, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has media outlets in the Western Hemisphere.

The story highlighted the killing of Robert Hill, whose alias was Kentucky Kid, and the events leading up to his death.

Hill came to public attention after his vehicle and a police car met in an accident on Mandela Highway in St Catherine.

Before his killing, Hill had expressed fear for his life as he informed the media that he had been threatened by the police.

The Al Jazeera network, which reportedly has a viewership of nearly 40 million, also focused on a number of other questionable police killings in Jamaica.

On Wednesday, The Gleaner reported that statistics released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force revealed that up to April 25, the police had been responsible for 83 fatal shootings this year, up from 76 for the corresponding period last year.