Jamaica's Culture of Fear Allows Police to Get Away With Murder

Tillotson, Louise

Publisher:  Inter Press Service (IPS)
Date Written:  23/12/2016
Year Published:  2016  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20204

In the past decade, the Caribbean island nation's police have killed more than 2,000 people - until recently an average of four people every single week, mostly young men in inner-city, marginalized communities.



The morning her brother was shot dead in January 2014, Shackelia Jackson had slept through her alarm. She woke up to the sound of his name and instantly knew something was wrong. When she ran down to the modest restaurant he operated in downtown Kingston, she noticed the spoon in the rice pot, the flour where the chicken was being fried. Then one of his slippers, and blood marks.

Her brother, Nakiea, had just prepared lunchtime orders and taken the garbage out when he was shot by the police. Police believed a robbery had happened close-by and were pursuing a "Rastafarian-looking" man. Nakiea fit that description.

In the two years that have passed since Nakiea was killed, police have raided the community several times, always coinciding with the days when the court was meant to hear his case. A preliminary enquiry was dismissed after a fearful witness failed to appear in court. When the community protested the dismissal of the case in July, police cars showed up.

In their public pursuit of justice, his sisters and brother have suffered frequent intimidation and harassment from the police.

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