Police Federation backs officers involved in Trafalgar Road shooting

THE Police Federation, charging that the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has been making “spurious allegations” about the conduct of lawmen in last week’s daylight gun battle on Trafalgar Road in the Corporate Area, is signalling that it is prepared to provide all the necessary legal backing if needed.

In the incident, which grabbed headlines last Monday, police shot and killed two of three men moments after they reportedly robbed and killed a businessman in the Swallowfield community. The police, with the help of technology, intercepted the motor car with the three on Trafalgar Road and confronted the occupants. During that encounter gunshots were fired.

INDECOM, in a release, indicated its intent to investigate the incident and noted that there has been speculation, confusion and inaccuracy in the initial reports, which require clarity. “The details of the circumstances of the discharge of weapons were under examination,” said INDECOM.

The circumstances involving one of the three men from the suspect vehicle who ran into a nearby apartment complex, INDECOM said, need to be clarified. That individual, the commission said, was handcuffed within the grounds of the complex and then placed in the rear section of a police vehicle, which then drove away from the scene.

“That same arrested man was subsequently observed on social media recordings lying on Trafalgar Road. The arrested man was one of the two deceased. A post-mortem examination will determine the nature and cause of death of both men, which includes the driver of the suspect vehicle,” INDECOM noted.

The federation, however, is charging that INDECOM has jumped the gun in its statements since the shooting.

“…They would have been out there making spurious allegations to the contrary without conducting proper investigations. And consequently, what it is doing is seeking to erode the very confidence and trust of the public and driving a wedge between the public and the police – and their function is now being viewed as compromised,” head of the federation Corporal Rohan James told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“They have sought to comment on an investigation even without the fact-finding mission being concluded, and the Police Federation wishes to commend our membership for the resolve in standing up for the citizens of Jamaica against any act of lawlessness and barbaric activities,” he added.

“Our police officers, in the face of adversity, placed their lives on the line for the citizens of this country against hoodlums who took the life of a citizen and believed they could run amok. The federation is saying to criminal elements and the underworld: ‘Do not point your weapons at our police officers. They will respond, they are trained.’ We are not going to surrender or retreat and surrender the landscape of Jamaica to criminal elements, and we are going to be resolute about it,” the federation head said further.

“We will stand in defence of them and we will provide all the legal support in respect of the conduct and their duties,” he added.

According to INDECOM, examinations of the scene revealed that at least four motor vehicles were struck with bullets. In addition to the suspect vehicle, these included a police car and two civilian vehicles. One civilian vehicle was struck once to the rear windshield, the other at least five times to the rear. The police vehicle received at least five bullet strikes to the front, and the suspect vehicle received at least 42 bullet strikes.

Two firearms were reported as being recovered from within the suspect vehicle, and more than 70 9-mm casings were recovered from the scene.

– Alicia Dunkley-Willis

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