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Jamaica

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings

There were numerous reports that government security forces, mainly police, committed arbitrary and unlawful killings. Government statistics indicated that through September, government security force-related fatalities increased by 44 percent over the same period in 2016, with 124 and 86 in the first three quarters of 2017 and 2016, respectively. Of the 124, 118 involved the police, and six involved the military.

The number of government security force-involved killings from January through September deemed to have occurred under suspicious circumstances increased over the same period in the prior year by 10 percent, from 29 to 32. Incidents in which police officers fatally shot two or more persons increased considerably, to 14 through the end of September, compared with eight in the same period of 2016. Police-involved fatalities during traffic stops along thoroughfares at night markedly increased. The proportion of victims of police-involved fatalities found to have been in possession of no weapon or only a knife or machete increased to approximately one-third.

On March 23, seven officers on mobile patrol shot and killed a person purportedly with mental health disabilities in the southeastern parish of St. Thomas. The only weapon investigators retrieved from the crime scene was a machete.

Authorities arrested two police officers on February 7 for a killing in 2013. Investigations and prosecutions into fatalities by government security forces from prior years continued slowly.

Financial fraud criminals known as “lotto scammers,” narcotics and gun traffickers, gangs, and other criminal groups engaged in widespread criminality and contributed to the country’s very high homicide rate and culture of lawlessness. Through the end of September, there were 1,193 homicides, which marked a 25.4 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Six police officers were killed through September.

Acting on a recommendation from the 2016 report released by the government’s West Kingston Commission of Enquiry, which examined the 2010 Tivoli Incursion that left 73 individuals dead, the government on December 6 officially apologized for the events of the incursion. As of December 7, the government compensated the estates of persons killed during the event, including those of all 16 persons allegedly killed extrajudicially according to the commission, with a total of 134 million Jamaican dollars (JMD) ($1.05 million).

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future