SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A government agency in Jamaica found that security forces were not wearing body cameras when they fatally shot or injured more than 100 people in the Caribbean island in the first half of the year.
Only one body camera was worn during the 106 incidents — including 64 killings — reported from January to June involving Jamaica's police and military, according to a report released Thursday by the Independent Commission of Investigations. Security forces have killed a total of 119 people as of Oct. 31, although it wasn't clear if any body cameras were worn in the cases reported from July to October.
The report on shootings comes after Jamaica’s government announced in April that it had distributed 400 body cameras to the Constabulary Force.
“The body-worn cameras will give the account of what transpired without embellishment, without partiality or without bias,” Hugh Faulkner, who leads the commission, told reporters.
Security forces in Jamaica have long been accused of unlawful killings and using excessive force, with the commission noting that fatal shootings have increased since 2019.
There were 134 fatal shootings last year by security forces on the island of 2.8 million people. In 2021, 127 people were killed, a 10% increase compared with the previous year, according to the commission.
Few officers tend to be charged in those cases.
Jamaica's Constabulary Force has long dismissed the accusations, saying officers work in dangerous areas controlled by gangs wielding numerous illegal firearms.
The commission that released the report was created in 2010 to investigate allegations against security forces.
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