Morvant residents want justice after police killings

HANDS UP!: Morvant residents put their hands in the air in protest over the killing of three men by police on Saturday. - Ayanna Kinsale
HANDS UP!: Morvant residents put their hands in the air in protest over the killing of three men by police on Saturday. - Ayanna Kinsale

Tempers flared on Juman Drive, Morvant, on Monday as residents took to the streets to express their anger and frustration over the killings of Joel Jacob, Noel Diamond and Israel Clinton.

The three were shot dead by police on Saturday afternoon.

Residents began the demonstration at around 10 am on Juman Drive, Morvant, where they burned tyres and called for the suspension of the police officers involved.

Several people said while they were not opposed to the police as an organisation, they felt the killing was unjust and wanted the matter investigated thoroughly by both the police and the independent Police Complaints Authority (PCA).

Speaking with Newsday, concerned resident Christopher Roberts said young men in the community were fed up of being targeted unfairly by the police and called on the authorities to take action against those involved.

"I am very active in my church and my community. I try to reach out and help a lot of other young men in my area to do the right thing.

"So you're telling me that if I happen to get a drop from someone the police might be after, I can get bullets too?

"We are not against the police service. We know there are a lot of honest, hard-working police officers out there.

"But we want to deal with the corrupt police officers, the killers out there who feel they are above the law."

A police vehicle returns to Juman Drive, Morvant, on Monday after residents blocked the road with debris for a second time to protest the killing of three men by police on Saturday. - Ayanna Kinsale

"Joel (Jacob) was unarmed and he held both his hands outside the vehicle. All he was going to do was get a drink for his birthday."

Other residents chimed in, accusing the police of acting like a gang by carrying out extra-judicial killings.

One man, Jason Jackson, said he was fearful for his life after the killings and felt residents in the area had no redress after the shootings.

Hours after the demonstrators dispersed at Juman Drive, another group assembled on the Eastern Main Road at the Morvant Junction, removing plastic traffic barriers and throwing them onto the road blocking it. After that group was dispersed, residents returned to Juman Drive for yet another protest, blocking the road with debris.

Some protesters said while they were hopeful the deaths would be investigated fairly, they would protest again on Tuesday and continue until the matter was resolved.

Several PCA investigators went to speak to residents as part of their enquiry into the deaths.

The PCA said in a media release on Sunday it had started investigating the killings and based on the findings, it will assess whether to suggest prosecution of the officers.

It said due process would be followed at all stages of the investigation.

"In this regard," it explained, "the PCA will not express any view prior to any determination by a court of law as same may be tantamount to attempting to interfere with due process and the course of natural justice.

"As an independent oversight body, the PCA is committed to ensuring that no police officer acts above the rule of law and to empowering the citizenry to report incidents of police misconduct and/or criminal activity."

Contacted for comment Police Commissioner Gary Griffith confirmed that an investigation team from the Professional Standards Bureau has been appointed and was at work extracting CCTV footage.


"Morvant residents want justice after police killings"

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