August 3, 2021 – The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has commenced enquiries into an allegation and complaint of abuse of rights, raised by a female teenager, while in police custody at the Four Paths Police Station in Clarendon. This allegation, the unauthorized cutting of locked hair by a police officer, has been circulated across multiple media platforms and is the subject of grave public concern.
INDECOM views the allegation, as expressed by the complainant in video footage, as a breach of rights as afforded to all citizens, under the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. These rights, as entitled under the Constitution of Jamaica, include the right to equality before the law, the right to humane treatment by any public authority and the right to freedom from discrimination on the ground of race, place of origin, social class, colour, religion or political opinions.
The Commission’s enquiry will seek to determine the actions of the police officers while the teen was in police custody, to determine if rights were breached, according to the law of Jamaica, and to make pertinent recommendations.
The Commission has contacted the attorney and mother of the teen to further its investigation. While the Commission acknowledges the steps taken by the High Command of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in this matter, the allegations regarding the treatment of persons in State custody requires independent enquiry.