KINGSTON – Despite being strapped for cash, relatives of Mario Deane, who died on August 6 from wounds received in a vicious mauling while in the custody of the police on August 3, have snubbed an offer from the Jamaican Government to pay for his funeral expenses.
Miguel Lorne, the attorney representing the interests of Deane’s relatives, told the Jamaica Observer that the State should admit its culpability before any deal can be inked.
“The family has decided to refuse that offer. The Jamaican Government has not accepted responsibility for Mario Deane’s death. It is a matter of principle, we can’t accept that offer,” Lorne said.
Deane’s mother, Mercia Frazer, said she was contacted by People’s National Party caretaker for North West St James, Henry McCurdy, who offered assistance on behalf of the Government, but rejected the offer because she did not feel good about the Government’s handling of the situation.
“At this point we are not accepting help from [the Government] because I really don’t understand what they are doing. I sat with my family and we decided we are not going to accept any assistance at this point; maybe further down, but not at this point. We put it to our lawyer and he agreed with our decision,” Frazer, said.
Deane’s funeral is planned for Saturday, September 21, and the family has planned a walk in Montego Bay to raise money to pay for his funeral expenses.
“We have not raised much to bury Mario, as it stands now we don’t have a lot. By Saturday we might be able to tell if we have enough, but right now we just don’t know…,” said Frazer.
Lorne said an account had been opened to allow members of the public who want to make donations to assist the bereaved relatives.
The account number is 823837, Bank of Nova Scotia Negril. The account was opened in the name of Deane’s mother, Mercia Frazer.
“Donations can be made at any Scotiabank in Jamaica,” Lorne said.
Deane died on Independence Day after suffering a brutal mauling while inside the Barnett Street Police Station, allegedly by fellow inmates.
He was arrested for a ganja spliff, and after meeting bail requirements, was allegedly refused bail by a female police officer after he reportedly expressed a dislike for the police.
Two inmates – Marvin Orr and Adrian Morgan — have since been charged in connection with Deane’s death, while five police officers who were on duty at the time have been suspended.
The death is being probed by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).
Deane’s death has been ruled a homicide by renowned United States-based pathologist Michael Baden, who observed the autopsy of the body last week.