Mon | May 27, 2024

Police pan idea of bias in treatment of Clansman, One Order Gangs

Published:Wednesday | April 24, 2024 | 12:08 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer

Senior Superintendent Christopher Phillips has dismissed criticisms that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is not applying the heat evenly to the two main gangs in Spanish Town, St Catherine, with the Clansman Gang getting significant police attention.

The sustained efforts to cripple the Clansman Gang have drawn both praise and criticism, with members of the public and even people in the diaspora suggesting that a political influence could be hindering the efforts against the One Order Gang.

It is widely believed that the Clansman Gang supports the opposition People’s National Party, while the One Order gang supports the ruling Jamaica Labour Party.

“While we are aware that the Clansman Gang appears more brutal, ... I would love to see the same level of intensity with law enforcement going after the One Order Gang,” one Spanish Town resident told The Gleaner this week.

Echoing similar sentiments, a member of the Jamaican diaspora in Canada said: “While we applaud the efforts of law enforcement in taking down the notorious Clansman Gang, we are not seeing the same level of intensity directed at the One Order Gang. We are not hearing of multiple arrests.”

ALLEGATIONS DISMISSED

However, Phillips, who is the acting Area Five commander, dismissed allegations of bias within law enforcement on Monday and affirmed the JCF’s commitment to professionalism and impartiality in its operations.

“The work that the police are doing out there to curtail gang violence, ... we are going to go after gangs and gunmen because they are destroying our society,” Phillips asserted.

Senior Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, head of the JCF’s communication arm, emphasised that law enforcement is actively targeting both gangs based on ground-level intelligence. She highlighted recent arrests related to the One Order Gang, affirming that the police are prioritising action against those actively involved in criminal activities.

The escalation in violence in Spanish Town in recent years has been attributed to internal power struggles within the Clansman Gang.

Last year, 15 of the initial 33 people charged in the Clansman-One Don gang case were convicted, including Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, the leader of the One Don faction. Bryan received a 39-year sentence.

Some 23 members of the Clansman Gang are currently awaiting trial in a new case.

ruddy.mathison@gleanerjm.com