Verbal and physical abuse and inciting others to violence
Full Hated to DEATH Report here
On the afternoon of June 18, 2004, a mob chased and reportedly “chopped, stabbed and stoned to death” a man perceived to be gay in Montego Bay. Several witnesses reported to Human Rights Watch that police participated in the abuse that ultimately led to this mob killing, first beating the man with batons and then urging others to beat him because he was homosexual.
Fred L., thirty, described the incident as follows:
Me and another guy were sitting on the beach . . .While we were there, some little teenager was on the beach swimming, and Victor, the guy that was killed, was standing looking at the boy. The boy said, "Why are you looking me like that? You a battyman." Two rastamen said, "Every day they come on the beach to look at men, battyboy them." Two policemen and a female police officer were there. The two male officers started to beat the man with batons. I turned to the female officer and asked, “What has he done wrong?” She turned to me and said, "Everyday me have to warn people about this guy coming on the beach. I'm going to lock him up.” I said, “For what?” She didn't say. I said to her, “If he did something wrong, lock him up, don't beat him.”
[Victor] started to run from the two male officers toward the Old Fort Craft Market. The two policemen said, "Beat him because him a battyman."
The crowd followed the police officers’ lead, beating the victim and throwing bottles and stones at him.
Joseph W., twenty-six, told Human Rights Watch that he saw police hitting the victim with a baton and with their fists, and that once persons from the crowd started beating the victim:
the police officers walked off. The crowd got thicker and more persons started hitting the guy. Then I saw the guy run out of the road into the town. . . . Then I woke up the next morning to hear that Victor was killed about a mile and a half from the beach.
Police abuse is a fact of life for many men who have sex with men and women who have sex with women in all of the communities that Human Rights Watch visited in Jamaica. As in the incident described above, homophobic police violence can be a catalyst for violence and abuse by others. It is sometimes lethal. Police abuse is also profoundly destructive because it creates an atmosphere of fear sending a message to other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people that they are without any protection from violence.