Attorney urges police to deliver higher standard of investigation

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The legal advisor to the family of a young woman who was strangled in her mother’s home earlier this month is calling on the police to treat complaints from residents more seriously.

Leon “Chaku” Symister made clear from the onset that he was “not casting any aspersions on the entire police force” but giving advice, having looked at the case of Nicoma McFarlene whose mother Patricia Kenyon provided enough evidence to lawmen to support her conclusion that her daughter was murdered and did not commit suicide as some officers had tried to convince her.

“We are saying the police must take civilian complaints more seriously because we can tell you that when the mother pointed out blood in an area to the police, the police dismissed it and it has been very painful for the mother not just that she lost a daughter but because she was providing information to the police and was being brushed aside,” he said.

Symister noted also that the police said the family must have been “watching too much TV” and dismissed photographic evidence of what the 25-year-old victim was doing and wearing in photos she sent to a relative not long before she was found dead.

In those photos the clothing differed from the green blouse, short blue jeans and black tights which were on the body that was discovered by the mother around 6:20 p.m. on February 7 at their Freeman’s Village home.

The lawyer said the family was very concerned about the manner in which they were treated by the investigating officers, and the mother wanted to go public right away.

“They believed that only if they went public [the] behaviour

[of the police]

may have changed. But certainly we advised that to go public would hint to the perpetrator what is there and so we said ‘alright, play ignorant like everyone until we see the autopsy’ and the police pick up this man who we understand is a former police officer,” Symister said in an exclusive interview with OBSERVER media yesterday.

“They were very concerned also that it’s the status of the person the mother suspected murdered her daughter was one of the reasons they were treating them as if they didn’t know what they are talking about,” he added.

The attorney is encouraging the police not to drop the ball but to ensure their investigation is thorough.

The individual who was arrested Tuesday night is, according to police sources, still a member of the police force but is on disciplinary suspension for an unrelated issue.

Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin weighed in on the matter yesterday. He said the “misconduct” of a few police officers should not cause people to lose faith in the entire force which has over 700 men and women.

“My understanding thus far is that the person who has been detained for questioning has been out of the system for quite some time now since he himself had been suspended and removed from duty because of unrelated matters being investigated,” he said.

Benjamin, who is also the minister responsible for the police, added: “Please do not become too concerned about this matter. A few bad apples do not spoil the whole bunch, my friends.”

And he urged residents to “remain faithful” to the police because the vast majority are “good, decent and hardworking” officers who adhere to their responsibilities of providing safety and protection.

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