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Letter: Police violence against LGBT Jamaicans: When will the prime minister intervene?
Published on January 20, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

The Jamaican police shot and killed 258 people in 2013 and not a ripple has this caused in official society. The minister of national security is busy praying for divine intervention while the prime minister appears to be out of her depth on most political matters.

But this statistic doesn't capture people like 31-year-old Keshima "Royal" Tulloch, a street vendor, who was shot by the police and who was fortunate not to die.

Royal, an open lesbian, was verbally abused by a man in Half-Way-Tree who called her a sodomite. She retorted that he had phone numbers for drag queens. The man then proceeded to deliver several punches to her face knocking her to the ground.

In an attempt to defend herself Royal took a knife out of her handbag but before she had a chance to use it she was shot by a policeman who had witnessed the assault by the man but had done nothing. Royal was shot in her left arm; and another bullet entered her left breast and exited the right.

Despite her pleas for help nobody came to her assistance except for one man whom the police shooter told to leave her alone, obviously wanting her to die. Fortunately for Royal, a senior police officer came by and took her to the hospital.

But her ordeal was only beginning. No sooner had Royal come out of surgery than the police shooter came to the hospital and put her in handcuffs, claiming to arrest her because she had used a knife to assault the man who attacked her! Clearly a case of trying to justify his attempted murder.

Royal, who is still recuperating from the injuries that nearly took her life, has been to court on two occasions to answer false charges of assault. On these two occasions the "victim" did not turn up. He had already phoned Royal to tell her that he had no intention of showing up. And just as well for both him and the arresting policeman: how would he be able show evidence of a knife wound?

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) took a statement from Royal on the 7th November 2013 and has yet to order the policeman arrested for attempted murder and false arrest.

This indecisiveness on the part of INDECOM is unacceptable as the evidence overwhelmingly supports an arrest. It is also high time that the prime minister delivers on her promise to protect LGBT Jamaicans.

Lloyd D'Aguilar
Campaign for Social and Economic Justice

Not in My Cabinet: Homophobia in Jamaica
Reads: 4776

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The Caribbean Writer 2014

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