This time the allegation has come from the embattled Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) which says that its investigations have identified that a “planted firearm scenario” still persists within the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
Speaking at a press conference at the commission’s New Kingston office, INDECOM's Assistant Commissioner Hamish Campbell said his organization was concerned that firearms were still being planted at scenes of fatal shootings involving the police.
“We had examples of a firearm being recovered at a scene, which had been previously in the possession of the police at an earlier instance when it had been seized,” Campbell said.
He pointed out that in two instances where guns were recovered, it was found that the weapons were already submitted to the police laboratory in respect of a previous shooting. “One as recently as 2018,” Campbell pointed noted.
He said that in a recent police shooting investigation, it was revealed that the firearm reportedly found on the dead man was, in fact, the same weapon which was recorded in police custody records, as having been seized a month earlier.
In its first quarterly report (January-March) for 2018, INDECOM said the issue remained “a troubling feature for which the JCF must take responsibility to eradicate”.
“The securing of public trust and building community engagement cannot begin until such a culture and practice is ended,” the commission reported.
The organization charged by Parliament with investigating police shooting incidents, stated that it has investigated more than 1,000 fatal police shootings, since starting its investigative functions in 2011, including hundreds of non-fatal shooting injury incidents.
“The volume of such investigations, an ever-increasing data set of information, and the frequent testimony and complaints cited by citizens across Jamaica give cause for continuing concern that the allegation of the planted firearm is not a practice of the past, but remains entrenched amongst some officers,” the report stated.
The report said that the repeated allegations of the police planting firearms was beyond anecdote.
“Reference can be made to a host of internal JCF reports and international papers, but equally the numerous injured civilians who claim never to have had a weapon when shot, and witnesses who were present when a person was shot and killed without a weapon,” the report stated.
In light of this, INDECOM said that its investigations have “identified that the planted firearm scenario still persists and remains a troubling feature for which the JCF must take responsibility to eradicate”.
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