Jamaica: Police kill one man and abuse and threaten many more

Greenwood and James are currently held without charge in Spanish Town Police Station and are at risk of ill-treatment and torture. Other young men from the area have also reportedly been abused in custody, in an apparent attempt to intimidate the local community.

Eyewitnesses stated that Robin ‘Country’ Anderson was offering no resistance when he was killed, but was in bed, holding his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender.

Police had reportedly arrived at his home at around 6am. After the shooting, they reportedly removed evidence, washing away blood and taking away the bloody sheets in a black bag.

Anderson had also received death threats before he was killed. On April 28, police officers visited the community and said:
“Tell Country he [name of police officer] deh bout and him nuh have long fi live.” [Tell Country (police officer) is coming and he doesn't have long to live.] The threat was reported to the Police Public Complaints Authority.

Amnesty International UK Media Director Lesley Warner said:

“Once again we see Jamaica’s police killing in suspicious circumstances, with eyewitnesses stating that the victim was surrendering as he was shot dead. Once again, we hear that witnesses are being intimidated.

“There should be no more ‘once agains’. There must be a full and independent investigation into this and other police killings. Those responsible must be brought to justice.”

In an apparent attempt to intimidate the community after the shooting of Robin ‘Country’ Anderson, police reportedly rounded up 20 young men from nearby houses, including Curtis Greenwood and Jeffrey James.

The others were released in the following two days. Independent medical reports have confirmed that several of them had been badly beaten, including an eyewitness to the shooting.

Curtis Greenwood has reportedly been severely beaten in police custody. He was charged and appeared in court on 11 May, and was granted bail. Police then detained him for questioning on another matter, which had not been mentioned while he was in custody. Police have refused to allow either man to see a doctor.

Greenwood's brother, Otis Phillips, was reportedly threatened in March 2004 by a Senior Superintendent of police from Spanish Town, who allegedly told him he was on “borrowed time”.

On 9 May, members of the community were reportedly warned that they would be killed if they buried Robin Anderson. A police officer allegedly said that if the funeral took place, there would be more bodies than people to bury them. The funeral has not yet taken place.

Background information Morgan’s Lane is surrounded by ‘garrison communities’ (urban communities dominated by one of Jamaica's two main political parties) which are dominated by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP, the official opposition party). It is understood to have been targeted for some time by the local One Order gang, which is reported to have affiliations with the JLP.

The community has complained of threats from police for some time, and believe that police may be colluding with the gang. On April 28, police reportedly failed to respond to a request for assistance after gunmen opened fire on Morgan’s Lane. The threat was reported to the Police Public Complaints Authority but the authorities reportedly took no action.

Amnesty International has grave concerns about the numerous unlawful killings committed by the Jamaican police. It is allegedly very common for officers to threaten both witnesses to unlawful killings and people who live nearby. Amnesty International has also received many reports of people seeking justice for the killing of their relatives being threatened and harassed.

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