By I. Jabulani Tafari
President-Elect of the United States National Bar Association, Benjamin Crump, is calling upon the Jamaican government to combat the police brutality that is currently being inflicted on citizens of that island. Crump, a U.S. Civil Rights attorney who represents Michael Brown’s family in Missouri and who represented Trayvon Martin’s family in Florida, further declared that in order for police brutality to stop, citizens of every nation must stand up to their governments and demand just and equal treatment.
Speaking at a press conference in Miami on Friday, September 19, 2014, Mr. Crump said, “Human Rights violations cannot be tolerated whether they occur in Sanford, Florida, in Ferguson, Missouri, or in Montego, Jamaica.”
Friday’s press conference in Miami was organized by Jamaican attorney Michael Lorne who is representing the family of Mario Deane, a young Jamaican who died in police custody on August 6th this year in Montego Bay after being arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use. Jamaican police first said the youth fell off a bunk bed and later stated that he was beaten to death by other inmates. However, the Jamaican attorney said the pending case clearly resulted from police brutality and/or misconduct and he is endeavoring to internationalize the issue of Mario Deane’s death.
Lorne disclosed that when forensic pathologist Michael Baden M.D., the former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City for 25 years, came to Jamaica on September 2nd to perform an autopsy on Mario Deane’s body, he determined that the youth died from a beating inflicted on his head and neck. Lorne also said that an independent commission established by the Jamaican government to investigate police brutality is seeking to press charges against three Montego Bay policemen identified by other prisoners as being involved in Deane’s death. In a similar case, the Jamaican attorney is representing the family of Oshane Dothlyn who was also arrested for possession of marijuana in Kingston in February this year. He too died in police custody under suspicious circumstances, with law enforcement claiming that he was hanged.