Dale Jacobs, cousin of Joel Jacobs, one of the men killed by police last Saturday, called on the officers involved to seek forgiveness from God as they reflect on their actions.
Dale Jacobs was not in a forgiving mood, however.
Joel Jacobs 38, was shot dead by police, together with Noel Diamond and Israel Clinton, near his home at Pelican Extension, Morvant
Speaking at Jacobs’ funeral at the St John the Baptist Church, San Juan, on Friday, Dale Jacobs responded to calls from parish priest Fr Dwight Merrick to forgive the officers involved by saying vengeance and not forgiveness was their priority.
During a post-Cabinet media conference on Thursday, the Prime Minister urged those protesteing over the deaths to reconsider their approach in expressing their discontent by working towards justice, not vengeance.
Jacobs said while he was pained that PC Allan Moseley was murdered hours before his cousin’s death, killing an unarmed civilian was not the answer.
Referring to video footage of the police shooting, Jacobs said it was fortunate the video captured what happened, including his cousin’s apparent surrender.
“I am sympathetic to you all (police),” he said. “You lost a colleague. That is hard. But you don’t kill unarmed people, people who are not involved. My cousin had nothing to do with violence.
“The priest talked about forgiveness from your hearts. But the officers involved weren’t thinking about forgiveness that day, let us understand that and if it wasn’t for the video, Joey would have just been another statistic.
“They weren’t thinking about forgiveness, they were thinking about revenge and execution, and that’s a fact. Revenge and execution for someone who came with their hands in the air. Even if you don’t have any experience in the police or the army, you know one thing, and that is if your hands are up in the air, that means you surrender.”
He told the officers involved to let God be their conscience.
There was only one story he would tell Jacobs’ daughters, “those two little girls,” he said: “And that is, he was gunned down.
“When they hear how he died, what are they supposed to do? How are they supposed to look at the police, the government, the country?
“It is unacceptable.”
Dale Jacobs also said he hoped Joel’s death would be the catalyst for a change in the way communities are policed.
Sterling Jacobs, Joel’s father, emotionally quoted the book of Matthew from the Bible, saying, “This is my son, with whom I am well pleased.”
In his homily, Merrick lamented the violence among black youths in at-risk communities and said in preparation for Jacobs’ funeral, he recalled his own time as parish priest in Success Village, Laventille, where he saw first hand the effects of crime among young people.
He said while all lives matter, black lives were no exception and implored the mourners and the community to see the value of their own lives.
“When black boys kill black boys, there are no winners, only losers.”
He said while he did not want to disrespect or pretend to understand the family’s pain, and would leave comments about Jacobs to the eulogists, “I want to ask, where are we going with all this violence?
“All our lives matter every creed and every race, and black lives are no less so. Who are going to help those value their lives?”
Joel was buried at the San Juan Public Cemetery after a procession from the church.