There will be a protest in remembrance of Mario Deane on Saturday, August 3, 2019 from 8:00 a.m until 12:00 p.m. outside the Barnett Street Police Station, Montego Bay, St. James.
Jamaicans for Justice reminds us:
On the morning of August 3, 2014, Mario Deane was on his way to his construction job when he was stopped and searched by the police during a random police operation. He was subsequently arrested, taken into custody and charged with a minor offence at the Barnett Street Police Station in Montego Bay, St. James.
After being refused bail by an officer at the lock-up, Deane was placed in a cell and mere hours after his initial detention, was brutally beaten while in police custody. The injuries he sustained left him brain dead, and three days later, on August 6, 2014, 31-year-old Mario Deane died.
Following Deane’s death, three inmates who were in lock-up with him were charged with his murder. Of the three, one is mentally challenged, and another is mute – making it particularly difficult for them to competently refute the allegations made against them.
In July 2017, the mentally challenged accused was found unfit to stand trial and was released. On July 29, 2019, it was reported that the other two men accused of his murder are about to enter into plea agreement discussions with the prosecution when the matter returns to court on September 18 this year.
The officers on duty when Mario Deane was murdered were not immediately charged after the incident. However, after years of trying to have the agents of the state answer to charges related to Deane’s death, a judge in the St James Parish Court in May 2018 ruled that Corporal Elaine Stewart, District Constable Marlon Grant, and District Constable Juliana Clevon indeed have a case to answer.
All three officers were subsequently charged with manslaughter, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office, and will stand trial on March 10, 2020.
While others prepare for Independence Day celebrations, Mercia Fraser, mother of Mario Deane, is preparing to embark on advocacy against police violence. Despite the long and arduous journey, filled with numerous setbacks and delays, Fraser has never given up. She promises to continue the fight until her son gets the justice he deserves.
On Saturday, August 3, 2019, she will host her annual protest. This year marks the fifth anniversary of her son’s arrest, assault and subsequent death. The protest will take place in front of the Barnett Street Police Station in Montego Bay, St. James from 8AM to midday.
All are welcomed and encouraged to participate in remembrance of Mario Deane and in support of Mercia Fraser and his loved ones as a part of the ongoing fight against police brutality.
Fraser will be supported at the protest by Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) and members of the JFJ Family Support Group, which is comprised of victims of police brutality and families of persons who have been killed by the security forces. The members of this group come together to offer each other support on their respective quests for justice, while navigating the trauma of being a victim of/losing a loved one to police violence.
The Family Support Group, with the support of JFJ and Amnesty International also participates in advocacy around police violence, including forums, media campaigns and human rights sensitization trainings with key justice stakeholders including members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.