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Cops fire on vehicle carrying senior lawman

Head of St. Andrew Central Police Division Derrick “Cowboy” Knight.

KINGSTON — A senior policeman yesterday blasted his colleagues over a weekend shooting incident in which members of a police patrol opened fire at an unmarked vehicle, almost injuring a senior superintendent.

The Jamaica Observer learnt that head of St. Andrew Central Police Division Derrick Cowboy Knight and another policeman were on Saturday travelling in an unmarked service vehicle along Spanish Town Road, in the vicinity of Weymouth Drive in Kingston, about 2 a.m., when it was fired on. Senior Superintendent Knight and the other policeman escaped injury.

Information about the incident was still unclear, but an Observer source said the officers were travelling along Spanish Town Road when they noticed that they were being trailed by a police vehicle, after which shots rang out. The source could not say if the police had signalled the unmarked car to stop.

There has been no official report on the embarrassing incident and Knight yesterday refused to comment.

However, a senior policeman who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media about the incident, said the development had again cast a shadow over the operations of the police and the use of force.

“If Mr Knight was shot and killed, maybe we would not know the truth about that incident,” said the senior policeman, who has knowledge of the shooting incident.

“The incident brings to mind that sometimes, too, our civilian population may find themselves in a similar dilemma,” the cop said.

The lawman said the incident was very “heart-rending”‘ in light of the work that the police commissioner, Owen Ellington, has done in stressing awareness among members of the constabulary about the use of force.

“The police need to follow the commissioner’s strategic objective as it relates to how the public should be treated and the use of lethal and non-lethal force,” said the officer.

Carolyn Gomes of the human rights group Jamaicans for Justice yesterday expressed concern about the incident.

“It’s very disheartening and brings into sharp focus concerns that members of the public have been raising for years about police use of force,” said Gomes. (Observer)

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