A jury yesterday rejected a police officer’s claims that he fatally shot 22-year-old Osworth Rolle in defense of his life and that of his two partners.
The five-member jury unanimously ruled that Rolle, who was shot in the head and chest, was unlawfully killed at the hands of officer Kendrick Brown on November 30, 2016.
It is up to the director of public prosecutions to determine whether any criminal charges will flow from the jury’s verdict. In the meantime, Brown remains on active duty.
Though at the time of Rolle’s shooting police said that the death would be investigated by the coroner, Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez told the jury in her summation, “We have no special task force to investigate an officer in a police-involved shooting. In this jurisdiction, if there is fatal police shooting, it is the police who will investigate the police.”
The officer’s claims that Rolle, who was better known as “Shaddy”, pointed a gun at the officers was disputed by Nathaniel Miller, the alleged leader of the Fire n’ Theft gang, whom police were seeking regarding three attempted murders.
Miller testified that he, the deceased and a 16-year-old were smoking in the back of the yard when the armed officers came. According to Miller, the officers were wielding guns and opened fire on them, so they ran. Miller denied that anyone in his party was armed.
By contrast, Brown claimed that Rolle turned and pointed his gun at the officers during the pursuit and he opened fire as he was in fear for his life and that of the other officers.
Brown said that Rolle dropped and the gun dropped.
Ramona Farquharson-Seymour, who represented Rolle’s family, suggested that the crime scene was staged and the gun planted. She also questioned why the Millennium G2 9mm pistol, with 12 unfired 9mm bullets in the magazine and one unfired 9mm bullet in the chamber, that was allegedly recovered from Rolle, was not tested for fingerprints.
Farquharson-Seymour said that the investigation was not impartial as the police investigated themselves.
Bjorn Ferguson represented Brown.