Are police death squads dead or alive?

By Thursday, June 22, 2017 1 2

In the early afternoon hours on a day in April 2001, according to reports, William ‘Willie Haggart’ Moore, and two other men — Albert ‘Blacka Douche’ Bonner and Lowell ‘Big Bunny’ Hinds, were shot dead at a section of Lincoln Crescent on the outskirts of Arnett Gardens by men traveling in a car.


Moore was a noted hothead and ‘man of influence’ in the PNP controlled garrison of Arnett Gardens and head of the Black Roses Crew while Bonner was key to the new linkages being made to foster more peace between warring PNP factions there and hostile forces in Tivoli Gardens.


Two years later on a March night in 2003, another PNP man of influence in Arnett Gardens but with seniority of years to Bonner, George Phang was at a spot close to the border of Jones Town and Arnett Gardens playing dominoes with friends when gunmen drove up and hurriedly exited the car blazing bullets at him with assault rifles.


The businessman and political activist took 19 and miraculously lived to tell the tale. Immediately after Phang was shot I was contacted by telephone by Moore’s widow who told me that rumours were swirling that it was she who had arranged the hit on Phang because of older rumours that Phang had had a part in the shooting death of her man a few years before.


I met with her and told her that I could only write what she told me without any speculative opinion making. After getting her side of the story I met with other players including a man who had been shot in the finger during the murder of William ‘Willie Haggart’ Bonner and his two associates in 2001.


According to this man Willie Haggart had, earlier that morning traveled to the site of a well known PNP activist and contractor because a car was promised to him. After waiting for many hours and fruitlessly trying to make cell contact with the contractor, Willie left in a huff, very vexed and fit to be tied. He had been royally dissed.


As he sped off, the back wheels of his car blew back dust and dirt on two policemen who were also at the site waiting on the contractor. They were bike cops. Not knowing nor apparently caring who he was, the cops gave chase.


After a high-speed chase through many populated communities, Willie stopped the car in lower Arnett Gardens and strode out. The bike cops stopped too and approached him with guns drawn. Willie let loose a bag of Jamaican bad-words.


‘What di fuck wrong wid onnu! Unno know who mi is? Onnu waan mi tell di boss!’ In quick time the cops and Willie established that they were both friends of ‘the boss,’ the contractor and PNP activist.


As the cops left Willie drove to Black Roses crew headquarters where he told everyone in earshot what had just taken place. After a while, Blacka and Big Bunny came along and they were gathered outside the gate talking. The man was nearby.


A few hours later a car drove up and men in ordinary day-clothes came out with guns drawn. According to the man Blacka recognized them as policemen in plain clothes.


As they were ordered to put their hands in the air, Blacka in trying to signal them that he was a licensed firearm holder and his gun was stuck in his waist said, ‘Licensed holder, licensed holder!’


Notwithstanding that, they opened fire killing the three and as the informant ran for his life he was grazed on a finger by a bullet.


Today I raise the point because of what the man told me Blacka said. He recognized them as policemen.


After the killing, rumours swirled again that Willie Haggart, a man who cared little how many enemies he made was killed on the orders of the Colombians or, he was ordered killed by local politicians who saw him as an embarrassment to their greater cause.


Since that time there has been a belief among many people that the frustration among frontline policemen who must face up to the daily dangers of fearless and desperate gunmen has forced some to adopt ‘extra judicial’ measures to deal with rampaging gunmen.


Captured, arrested and waiting for the suspect to be tried may take a decade. And then when the case is eventually tried, witnesses cannot be found to come forward and the killers smile as they are set free.


Because of this, there is an unwritten rule among some policemen that gunmen will have to be dealt with ‘outside of the confines of the law.’


So I cannot rule out that sometimes when there are reports of gunmen killing each other, it could be ‘legal’ gunmen out of uniforms executing armed desperadoes out for mayhem.

Mark Wignall

Mark Wignall

As one of Jamaica’s most read columnists if not the most read, Mark Wignall began with a brief stint writing for Jamaica’s oldest and most respected publication, the Gleaner - it's Sunday edition...
Mark Wignall
  • twotypes

    Hope this is not being served up to muddy the waters.