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Angry Maxfield residents cry out for justice

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Angry Maxfield residents cry out for justice

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

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RESIDENTS of lower Maxfield Avenue in Kingston yesterday staged a second day of fiery protest against what they claimed was the unjustified police killing of a young resident.

The constabulary’s Corporate Communication Unit, in a release yesterday, said the teenager was fatally shot during a confrontation with the police about 1:45 pm and a Smith and Wesson revolver with four rounds of ammunition was seized during the incident. The release also stated that the matter has been reported to the Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Commission of Investigations.

It all began on Sunday.

Carlene Bennett said she was at her home on Ramsey Road, off Maxfield Avenue in Kingston, when she felt a gut-wrenching pain after gunshots rang out in the tough inner-city community.

Bennett, who was at home with her common-law husband, said the faces of three of her four children who were not home but were in the community, ‘flashed before her’. when the gunshots subsided approximately 2:00 pm, she began wondering what had happened to her fourth child.

Bennett’s worst fears were later confirmed when her daughter, who came running, told her that 16-year-old Ronaldo Smith, otherwise called “Raheem”, was allegedly shot dead by the police inside a house on neighbouring Raphael Street.

When the Jamaica Observer visited the area minutes to 4:00 Sunday afternoon, residents by then had started mounting roadblcoks and begun protesting against what they said was police brutality. The lower section of Maxfield Avenue in the vicinity of Ramsey Road and Raphael Street was quickly littered with debris by the protesting residents.

“Him just finished eat because we just finished cook. Mi say to him say go wash your uniform for school. Him leave and go round the road round a him brother go play game. Me hear some gunshot and same time me baby father say them sound like them connect, ‘mi belly drop same time’ and me see him face and the two other one them face same time. Me say no man me a go out a road go look what happened,” Bennett told the Observer.

The mother said when she went to Raphael Street she was told that her son was killed during a police shootout.

Dismissing the allegation of a shootout, she said: “Me see the bed full a blood weh him drop a sleep and di TV a watch him (he fell asleep).”

Another relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Observer that the 10th grade Charlie Smith High School student was not a child who misbehaves.

“A last week Thursday him mother collect him report and him come first in a welding,” the relative said.

“After them kill him dem throw him in a di vehicle and gone wid him. Them (police) not even cordon off the area as people were walking back and forth,” the relative said, suggesting that the crime scene was tampered with. “When I go down there (hospital) him chest mash up.”

Condemning the death, angry residents called for swift action to be taken against the policeman involved.

“We nuh wah hear say him taken off front-line duty and then him take time gone back a him work,” an irate resident said.

Yesterday, Kingston Western Police Division territorial officer for the Community Safety and Security Branch Assistant Superintendent Noel Daley told the Observer that the police would maintain a strong presence along the roadway that is being used to accommodate heavy detour traffic due to the major road expansion work taking place in Portia Simpson Miller Square.

At the same time, Superintendent Daley said the Victim Support Unit provided counselling for the relatives of the deceased.

Charlie Smith High School Principal Anthony Garwood yesterday described Smith, who had repeated 10th grade, as an average child who would normally visit the office during his down time to browse the Internet and play games.

Students, he said, received counselling from a Ministry of Education trauma team yesterday.

 

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