Residents cry foul but cops say shooting not linked to politics Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Residents in August Town, St Andrew, took to the streets on Thursday, alleging that the shooting of a man by the police in the area was politically motivated, but law enforcers are saying that is not the case.

Mounting a fiery blockade at a section of the road in the community, residents called for justice as they recounted what they said happened when Jermaine O’Meally was shot.

However, the police are reporting that the man had a firearm.

Commanding officer for St Andrew Central Division, Senior Superintendent of Police Marlon Nesbeth, said about 1:40 pm, a team of police officers were on duty in August Town when they came upon a group of people in the African Gardens area.

Men in the group reportedly aroused the police’s suspicion so they decided to check them.

As the lawmen alighted from their motor vehicle, one man allegedly drew a firearm and pointed it at the police, who reportedly took evasive action and fired at the man.

“He ran, continued to point the weapon at the police, and was shot in the process. He then ran onto premises, and the police followed. On entering the premises, the police were able to retrieve the firearm, a Glock 29 pistol with a magazine containing 10 rounds,” the senior lawman said.

He added that, while in the process of assisting the injured O’Meally to the hospital, a crowd converged on the police officers, physically preventing them from doing so.

“Subsequently, they had to retreat due to the boisterous crowd,” Nesbeth said.

The senior lawman disclosed that O’Meally was the subject of a murder investigation in the St Andrew South Police Division last June, and that he was also featured in other reported incidents of crime that came under police investigation.

Concerning the claim that the shooting was politically motivated, Nesbeth said that his officers are not aligned with any particular candidate, nor are they involved in the campaigning that is taking place ahead of the February 26 local government election.

“I must dispel this notion, because the team of police who went there, from my certain knowledge, are professional around their work, and are not in any way aligned to political party and such type of behaviour.

“From the police perspective, I must advise members of the public that we will endeavour, at all times, to remain true to our oath of office, and to be professional at this time, as the election period unfolds,” Nesbeth said.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for St Andrew Eastern Fayval Williams and councillor-candidates for the Papine Division, Darrington Ferguson (PNP) and Venesha Phillips (JLP), were in the area to meet with residents on Thursday.

Loop News was told late Thursday that O’Meally succumbed to his injuries.