BY PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator -- Crime/Court Desk firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, October 29, 2015
DYING and injured cops. A female officer wetting herself before fainting due to intense and sustained fire from criminals. Heavily armed men engaging officers in the Corporate Area at almost every turn. And a service vehicle stolen in an ambush that nearly turned deadly for cops.
|Policemen in action in West Kingston during the May 2010 |
operation. (JAMAICA OBSERVER FILE PHOTO)
These are the experiences described by two police officers during the Tivoli Enquiry yesterday as they recounted a deadly day for police personnel on May 23, 2010 -- a day before the operation was launched to apprehend then Tivoli Gardens don Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
"I saw big men crying because it was a situation to cry about," Sergeant Robert Clark said in reference to the scene on Mountain View Avenue, where eight police officers were shot, two of whom died, on the night of May 23.
"Police personnel were afraid to go on the road, I can tell you, especially if you are in a marked vehicle," Clarke added during his examination-in-chief led by attorney Deborah Martin.
"Ma'am," Clark stressed, pausing, "I'm saying to you, police were afraid to go on the road. They were afraid."
"We believe you," empathised Commission Chairman Sir David Simmons.
On the night of May 23, a group of police officers were pinned down by gunmen in a section of Mountain View Avenue, where two of eight injured cops -- Sergeant Wayne Henriques and Constable Jason Davis -- lost their lives.
So intense was that 20-minute ordeal that a group of gunmen looking on from Nannyville wanted to help out the hemmed-in policemen, led by Senior Superintendent Colin Pinnock, but were afraid the cops would fire on them, Pinnock testified before the enquiry. It turned out, Pinnock testified, those gunmen from Nannyville had been earlier instrumental in protecting the lives of two police officers, who had been shot by another set of gunmen, and lay bleeding beside their service vehicle in the vicinity of the Excelsior High School.
"They protected them with their guns?" Martin asked.
"Yes," said Pinnock, who fought back tears during his gripping evidence.
Pinnock and his men from the Motorised Patrol Division had gone to rescue the two injured cops after 10:00 pm when they started taking heaving gunfire from gunmen who were hiding behind a wall at a football field.
Pinnock said the shootings started after he and his 20 men crossed the road and walked along the wall for protection. "All hell broke loose," is how the senior cops described the event.
"If we never crossed the road," he said, "we would be sitting ducks."
He said the gunfire was without warning and that, as his men fell injured around him, the gunmen laughed and taunted them, saying, "Oonu ago dead tonight!" more