Jamaican News

Autopsy confirms slain Jamaican man at centre of death after arrest probe died from beating

By David McFadden


Mario Deane

KINGSTON, Jamaica _ A famed U.S. pathologist said Wednesday that an autopsy has confirmed that a Jamaican man was beaten to death after his arrest on minor drug charges, a case that has prompted street protests on the island nation.

Dr. Michael Baden, a former chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police who was hired by relatives of slain construction worker Mario Deane, witnessed and reviewed the Tuesday autopsy led by a Jamaican pathologist in the northern city of Montego Bay.

Baden said in an interview that preliminary results show the 31-year-old man’s Aug. 6 death was homicide due to “multiple impacts” to the head and brain. There was also some neck compression, he said.

“It’s up to the investigators to determine who did it,” said Baden, who has consulted for decades on high-profile deaths, including the case of Michael Brown, the teenager shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Prosecutors and police say fellow inmates killed Deane, and two men have been charged.

But Michael Lorne, the lead attorney representing the family, blames the death on police brutality or misconduct, saying officers at the Montego Bay police station assumed responsibility for his life when they took him into custody for possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Baden said that police initially told hospital staff that Deane sustained his extensive injuries after falling off a bunk bed in the station lockup. “It didn’t happen the way it was initially reported,” Baden said.

On Aug. 7, a day after Deane died of his injuries at a hospital, police high command issued a statement saying evidence indicated that Deane’s multiple injuries were “inflicted by fellow inmates.”

A friend of Deane’s has told local media that an officer refused to release Deane on bail after Deane shouted out his dislike for police. Police commanders deny the allegation, saying Deane was kept in custody because he failed to provide the necessary bail requirements.

The Deane case has led to several street protests in Jamaica, where allegations of police misconduct have amplified longstanding distrust of the Jamaica Constabulary Force among many islanders. Local and international human rights groups have repeatedly criticized the high number of police killings on the island.

Six police officers who were on duty at the time of Deane’s beating have been suspended amid the investigation. Last month, the government said it has launched a review of detention procedures.

An independent commission that probes allegations of abuse by Jamaican security forces is investigating Deane’s death.


David McFadden on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dmcfadd

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