WHERE ARE THE GUNS? - INDECOM says 30 per cent of persons shot by security forces had no firearms

January 24, 2020

A third of persons shot by the security forces between 2016 and 2019 were not found with any firearm.

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), the body that investigates incidents of abuse by members of the security forces, in its latest report to parliament, said the absence of recovered firearms is featured in the shooting reports of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

“It remains the case that a significant proportion of shot or injured persons were either completely unarmed or in possession of an implement other than a firearm at the time of being shot,” INDECOM said in its latest report to parliament.

According to the investigative body, in 2019 the number of persons reportedly without a firearm at the time of being shot increased to 42 per cent of all persons shot.

According to INDECOM, of the 180 persons killed or injured by members of the security forces in 2016, no firearm was recovered from 63 of them.

In 2017, some 254 persons were killed or injured, and 70 had no firearm; and of the 221 persons killed or injured in 2018, no firearm was recovered from 77 of them, INDECOM said. In 2019, of the 169 persons killed or injured, no firearm was recovered from 71 of them.

“All police accounts of shootings incidents, whether involving a dead or injured person, report that either a firearm or other deadly weapon was present, or suspected to be present, at the time of the incident, which justified the use of deadly force,” INDECOM said in its report.

“The testimony from injured persons, forensic recovery and CCTV, indicate a different account,” the Terrence Williams-headed body said.

In the meantime, fatal shootings by the security forces took a nosedive in 2019 as fewer than 100 persons were killed by police and soldiers for the first time in more than 20 years. INDECOM said 86 people were shot and killed in 2019 and 83 persons were shot and injured. Some 137 persons were killed by members of the security forces in 2018, while 168 were killed in 2017.

In 2019, the JCF was involved in the fatal shooting of 85 people. This is 48 fewer people than in 2018. Of the 85 fatal shootings, 16 involved off-duty officers. The army was involved in one fatal shooting.

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