KINGSTON –– Just two days after the burial of Mario Deane, who died from a beating sustained at the Barnett Street Police Station in St James, another inmate has died while in custody in western Jamaica.
While The Gleaner’s effort to get a statement from the Area One Headquarters on the circumstances surrounding the inmate’s death proved futile, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) confirmed the death, identifying the deceased as 38-year-old Donavan Gordon of Highgate, St Mary.
“I don’t know anything about that,” a police officer at the Lucea Police Station, who identified himself as a sergeant, told The Gleaner yesterday afternoon. “I would suggest you call the Hanover Police Headquarters . . . .”
When the Hanover Police Headquarters was contacted, a female officer told The Gleaner that no senior officers were available to speak to the media and she was not authorised to speak on their behalf.
“Sorry, I can’t help you . . . . You just have to call back later and hope that one of the senior officers will be able to speak to you,” the policewoman said.
However, in confirming the death, Kahmile Reid, the senior public relations officer at INDECOM, said Gordon collapsed shortly after 1 p.m. and was taken to the Noel Holmes Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Yes, we can confirm the death of an inmate at the Lucea Police Station . . . . He was taken into custody on September 19 and he collapsed shortly after one o’clock,” said Reid. “A team from INDECOM is now at the police station carrying out investigations.”
While there is nothing to suggest foul play in Gordon’s death at this time, coming on the heels of the death of Mario Deane, who died on Independence Day, and Kamoza Clarke, who was beaten into a vegetative state at the Falmouth Police Station on October 20, 2013 and subsequently died, this death is expected to arouse public interest.
The death of Deane, who was arrested for a ganja spliff and was denied bail under questionable circumstances, has attracted international attention with an overseas pathologist brought in to oversee the autopsy.
Two inmates, both of unsound mind, were charged for Deane’s death, while three police officers were interdicted and another three suspended.