June 19, 2020 | By Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |
Questionable Police Killings?
Following the killing of two police officers in Horizon Park, Jamaica W. I. allegedly by a suspect and the injury of two other officers in the said incident … then there was the subsequent killing by police of the alleged suspect in Cooreville Gardens, St. Andrew the said day …. the Police Federation chair Sgt. Patrae Rowe was asked to be a panelist on CVM TV Friday night June 12, 2020, aired about 7:30 PM. The same day of the police deaths et al. Was it a PR gift to him?
We hereby bring you excerpts of comments or rants by Police Federation chair as monitored by Vision’s SIC. This is not a full verbatim account of what he said:
“The people are coming to respect us more. Police make sacrifices and are underpaid. Other Caribbean Islands pay their police twice what we pay here. We are an advocacy force. We need our Jamaican people to stand up. We want the Jamaican people to speak up. We need a shoulder to lean on” Declared a stony faced Jamaica Police Federation chair, Det. Sgt. Patrae Rowe, speaking on CVM TV nightly Panel discussion on Friday June 12, 2020. Continuing he said: “A promised a plaque with the names of fallen officers in the line of duty has not been honoured” concluded Rowe.
It is reported that former National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague had promised to build a monument to fallen cops. Cops cut down in the line of duty. Due to other pressing demands and likely COVID 19 this project has been on hold. It is a costly venture.
We sympathize with the loss of lives, but what if the police had been more strategic and planned better for this deadly operation? Would the outcome been different? We may never know.
The police told us that this was an intelligence driven operation … the announcement/admission of an ambush is therefore shocking. INDECOM has long expressed their concerns about planned operations by the police as it relates to loss of civilian lives at the hands of the police … especially on these planned raids. Is this a wake up call for the police? Is this the weak link in their operational command?
Police Use Of Force
In INDECOM’s last quarterly report Deputy INDECOM Commissioner, Hamish Campbell reported that:
“66 percent of suspects killed by police had no guns and were unharmed.”
The killing of unarmed citizens in police operations, could be interpreted as cold-blooded murder. Is this really so? In the absence of independent accounts of most if not all of these killings by police … it is difficult to conclude otherwise … as the police, as observed by Comish Hamish Campbell, were not wearing body cam equipment. We cannot verify the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Witnesses in most cases are fearful to come forward and there have been anecdotal accounts that many who brave it and do come forward have been known to be killed. Some have had to get police safe house or witness protection. You have to clean up the conduct of your members Sgt. Rowe. Respect for life has always been stressed by INDECOM.
There have been criminal charges laid on police officers for murder due to allegations of a death squad in the Clarendon Police Division of the force. Further details on this will be explored at a later date as the matters may still be in court. We must respect the courts.
Sgt. Patrae Rowe, in addition to your other issues, there is a libel suit to defend brought by INDECOM as a result of a press release dated May 5, 2020 in which you referred to Mr. Terrence Williams, Commissioner of INDECOM as “dishonest, unethical, and lacking integrity”. You failed to retract and apologize within the period specified, hence the matter now taken to court.
INDECOM is here to stay … so embrace them. Support them as your oversight body. It is the law.
The police Federation need to clear up questionable shootings by their members.
It is my further perspective that the failure of the Police Federation to listen and show due respect to INDECOM, may have led to the loss of lives of it’s members in Horizon Park recently? We invite your comments Sgt. Patrae Rowe et al. You should not only talk and tear down, but strive to protect the lives of the members you advocate for.
This is my perspective. What is yours? Feel free to disagree.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior National & International Correspondent for Vision Newspaper.