Now that (a) the noise surrounding the death of 16-year-old Immaculate Conception High student Vanessa Kirkland has died down (b) the three Police officers have been sentenced and © the anti-police blood lust has been satisfied, it is time to take an introspective look at the allegations around the case.
Before handing the case to the jurors, the presiding judge, Carol Lawrence-Beswick told them that they had the option of considering the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Whether or not this is proper judicial address to the jury, one cannot help but feel that the fix was in for the officers. It gives rise to the idea that the trial judge understood that with no (mens re.a) guilty state of mind, the over-charge, *murder*, had no footing on which to stand.
The officers were found guilty, [literally as directed by the court] on manslaughter.
Even though the standard for murder was not met, the sentence of 14 1⁄2 years was imposed by Lawrence-Beswick, on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
This sentence given to these brave public servants was vastly in excess of the sentences of seven years and ten years the very same courts generally hand out to the murderous criminals convicted for murder, the more serious charge. This in and of itself demonstrates a blatant anti-police bias, even in the courts which are supposed to be level headed arbiters of facts, not emotional easily swayed tools of anti-police rage.
These officers had zero chance of getting a fair trial anywhere in Jamaica.
This case should not have seen the inside of a courtroom.
The officers were afforded not one scintilla of qualified immunity in the execution of their sworn duty to serve and protect.
Inherent in all of that, is the tragedy that these young officers took action as they were sworn to do, and were scapegoated, demagogued, and criminally convicted for doing exactly what they were trained to do.
Uninformed outcry and unabashed anti-police bias in the criminally complicit Jamaican society was sufficient to gin up the *persecuting* mob, exculpatory evidence and common sense would not matter.
On the night in question, the police reported the confrontation took place after several persons were robbed in Portmore, St. Catherine after which the robbers made their escape to Kingston in a motor car.
Following the shooting incident, it was discovered that there were seven passengers (four females and three males) traveling in the motor car. Four other persons (three females and a male) were also shot and injured.
The other two men escaped. Five of the persons involved in the incident are from addresses in Greenwich Farm, while the other two are from Norman Lane addresses.
A Taurus .38 revolver with three live rounds and several spent shells were seized.
The foregone is the central tenet of what transpired. I have not seen an alternative narrative that contradicts this reporting from the police.
In light of that *fact* there are a few questions which must be answered surrounding how the police are supposed to respond to incidents in which lethal violence is directed at them.
It is important to also consider that this case was investigated by a demonstrably biased neophyte INDECOM, then just established less than two years, and with a commissioner, Terrence Williams, a megalomaniac with his own agenda.
For the moment I will set aside Terrence Williams, and INDECOM and deal with the core of what reportedly occurred on that fateful night resulting in the criminal conviction of three police officers, constables Anna-Kay Bailey, Andrewain Smith, and Durvin Hayles.
No one has stepped forward to suggest that the officers were acting outside of their given mandate to serve and protect. The evidence that they were in fact, part of a response to events coming over the police radio of robberies in Portmore Saint Catherine and a car with armed occupants.
No one has challenged the fact that there were several occupants in the car or that the officers returned fire after being shot at.
No one has challenged the fact that the driver refused to stop when ordered to do so by the officers.
No one has challenged the fact that one weapon with live round s and spent shells was recovered. No one has challenged the fact that two or so potentially armed occupants fled after the car was brought to a stop.
No one challenged the evidence that the decedent Vanessa Kirkland was in a vehicle that was involved in the commission of several felonies.
No one challenged that the occupants of the car did commit several robberies in Portmore before ending up in Kingston.
What was testified to by INDECOM’s forensic experts is that most of the shooting came from outside the vehicle in which Kirkland and others were traveling, as if the police have to ensure that they do not fire more rounds than those fired at them?
No one has denied that the stolen items were recovered from the car. So where is the crime that those brave officers committed?
As long as the order was given by the police to stop and the driver refused to stop, and as long as gunfire came from that vehicle the police had every right to return fire at the vehicle.
There are so many inconsistencies in this case which should never have been brought in the first place, including a prosecution witness who refused to testify to the lies they were put up to by INDECOM.
The prosecution asked the judge to declare her a hostile witness.
Nowhere else in the world would police officers doing their jobs be criminalized because of the fantastic notion that an angelic schoolgirl in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing, cannot become a collateral casualty as a consequence of her actions.
We have heard all of the village lawyers and the bleeding heart anti-police propagandists, and now it is our turn to speak out about what is happening in our country. Jamaica has been turned into a veritable killing field.
The police are *persecuted*whenever they dare go after the murderers and other anarchists, the government makes sure that the killing remains even as it refuses to repeal the Trojan horse called INDECOM.
The marauding criminals kill without consequence. On the rare occasion, they are captured and convicted their penalties for heinous murders are considerably less than that given police officer convicted for lesser charges.
The political opposition is equally as complicit as the government in this degradation of our country.
It is in this environment of anti rule of law that police officers are asked to operate. Clean out the garbage and smut from the china closet but do not break anything.
It is for this reason why the police have become tentative, unsure, reluctant, and ineffectual. The criminal underworld has won. The nation cannot fool itself any longer that the current strategies are going to do anything to change the murder rate in our country.
The foundation on which the nation’s criminal justice is built is inherently supportive of criminals, not to the rule of law.
Those who run our country are not ignorant of these truths, they designed it this way to benefit themselves.
And now the three officers have been granted bail pending the outcome of their appeals.
The appellate court has never seen a case it doesn’t reverse no matter the heinous nature of the crimes committed by the defendant.
We will be watching to see if the appellate court will do what is right for once and toss this case out.
In the end, I hope these officers will be reimbursed tens of millions in compensation for lost wages and punitive damages as well.
No amount of money will ever right the monumental wrong which has been done to them by this country.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, a business owner, avid researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
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