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Police Brutality destroying Police Trust

05/02/10

Permalink 11:20:34 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Commentary, News

Police Brutality destroying Police Trust

When last have you watched a TVJ or CVM news hour? If it is anytime within the last 10-15 or so years when Jamaica's crime rate spiked, you would have heard a news story with the following storyline:

Police came upon (Insert name of location), where they met upon (Insert number) number of armed men. A shootout ensued where (Insert name[s]) was/were shot and killed, and (insert number) men escaped into nearby bushes. (Insert Name[s] of people killed) were found with a .38 revolver.

The story comes in either this form or something similar, the only difference is that the men probably "Alighted from a vehicle". However time and time again whenever a policeman kills somebody the story remains the same. The next thing that happens after this news story is that the stories given by the police are completely different from the stories that are given by the people in the surrounding community. The people within the community will always state that the policeman, pulled the victim(s) from wherever they were sitting peacefully, carried them out to the street, and then shot them execution style. The other part of the story that is always included is the part that states that well the victim(s) were always good people, who helped the community and who the community cant live without, followed by wailing and bawling by close friends and relative of the victim. Such is a typical news segment in Jamaica.

And this has been going on for as long as I can remember, as a matter of fact it would be quite surprising to see a news segment without this. The other thing about the behaviour of the police is this: They are always innocent... I have never seen a news piece where the police were just generally wrong. How is that possible? In my 20+ (not revealing my age hehe) years of life I have never even come upon an article where the police in a shooting incident shot somebody whether by accident or on purpose. Am I to believe that our Jamaican police are simply infallible and are always good guys? That would mean that we only hire aliens to be a part of our police force, because there is no way you can tell me that out of the thousands of people employed in our police force, absolutely none of them are in it for the wrong reasons, if that was the situation I think we would have a different kind of respect for the police force and not just hatred.

This would also mean that our police force is superior to police everywhere in the world because a quick google search will definitely bring me upon an article that is about some policeman somewhere killing somebody on purpose. As a matter of fact the only time a policeman involved in a shooting that has ever been brought to court (that I can remember) is in the Braeton 7 killings way back in 2001... Oh and they were all acquitted.

Now I am not here to say that all policemen who are involved in killings are bad policemen, I know that there are generally good policemen in Jamaica otherwise we would never have any crime being solved at all. In this same light I have no reason to believe that all the people who the policemen are killing are good guys, I am sure there were some bad guys involved as well. It just makes sense. However one has to ask how is it that we the Jamaican community can trust a police force that always seems to be in the right? That would mean that no matter what there is no way for the public to be right. What kind of situation are we living in where the police can never be challenged else the challenger's may just find their lives be put in danger?

A video done by Al Jazeera TV highlights the crime problem in Jamaica, as it tells the story of a man named Robert Hill who even when he had video proof of police brutality against him and his pregnant wife, his evidence was more or less ignored by the police high command. Mr. Hill even predicted his own death at the hands of the police, but yet again, nothing has come out of it, despite all the evidence of blatant police wrong doing.

All of this together shows just to what level the crime problem really is in Jamaica. With a situation like this there is surely no way to look for any solution to this problem in the near future, there have been repeated calls to disband and recreate the Jamaica Constabulary Force, while one can see how this may make sense I have to ask who do we replace the police with? And how can we be ensured of less corruption if we do this? It surely is a sad situation that we live in, when we cannot trust the people who are put in place to protect us.

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