Saturday 22 February, 2020

Police 'death squad' comprised 16 cops, says Chucky Brown

The so-called police death squad that stalked the streets of Clarendon between 2009 and 2012, carrying out extrajudicial killings allegedly at the behest of senior officers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), numbered 16 strong, according to constable Collis ‘Chucky’ Brown.

Brown, who is on trial for murder in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston, said he was chosen to be a member of the squad because he had the heart to do wickedness.

The policeman was speaking during an August, 2013 interview with the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), an edited version of which was played in court on Thursday for the seven-member jury.

Jurors heard Assistant Commissioner of INDECOM, Hamish Campbell, cautioning Brown during the interview. Campbell could be heard asking the constable whether he understood that he was being recorded and telling him that whatever he said could be used against him in a court of law. The policeman said he was aware of the possible consequences but was prepared to speak.

According to Brown, some of the unlawful killings carried out by the police were reported as being the acts of gunmen.

Jurors listened intently as Brown confessed. At one point during the recording, Brown even laughed as he signed copies of the interview that he gave to INDECOM and quipped: “Mi signing ‘miself into prison now. Yes sah.”

The startling revelations that have become the norm at the ongoing trial once more had the rapt attention of the jurors.

They heard Brown in his own words detailing the extrajudicial killing of 21-year-old Robert ‘Gutty’ Dawkins on January 10, 2009 on the Palmer’s Cross main road. Brown said he was the designated driver of the white Toyota Probox motor car with fake licence plates that was used in the incident.

"Did you shoot him yourself. Did you fire the gun?",  Campbell asked Brown.

"No. No. But I was there as a part of that team," Brown said. When pressed by Campbell as to who fired the gun, Brown named a constable identified as ‘L’ and two other cops.

According to Brown, rank-and-file members of the JCF risked damaging their careers if they did not carry out the illegal commands of their superiors.

He provided INDECOM with the telephone contacts for several senior officers who, according to him, instructed him, and squad members to commit murders.

In a bid to prove his claim, Brown could be heard telling the INDECOM Assistant Commissioner to take steps to retrieve the audio of the phone calls to the senior cops about the illicit activities, but was told by Campbell that that would be difficult. “Laawd Jesus,” Brown responded.

Brown revealed in the INDECOM interview how squad members were lauded by their superiors, including the then Commissioner of Police for a reduction in the crime figures in Clarendon.

Brown said the then Minister of National Security would also attend functions where squad members were being lauded.

Apart from the murder of Dawkins, Brown is also being tried for the murders of Dwayne Douglas and Andrew Fearon in December, 2012 in Swansea, also in Clarendon. He is also being tried for conspiracy to murder and shooting with intent.

The trial will enter its fourth week next Monday.

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