As tempers flared on a second day of fiery protests in Denham Town over a controversial fatal shooting, the slain man’s family is worried about the future of his son who has reportedly been traumatised by the incident.
Residents said that Horaine Glenn died in front of his 13-year-old son, a St Andrew Technical High student who is said to be in need of counselling. The child’s mother and grandmother also witnessed the 32-year-old taking his last breath on Charles Street.
The alleged confrontation happened in a matter of seconds around 6:20 p.m. The lead-up to the shooting had been captured on amateur video but there is no footage of the critical alleged clash.
Angry demonstrators turned Spanish Town Road, Charles, North, Regent and Beeston streets into a canvas of chaos with old cars, refrigerators, tyres, and debris littering the corridors and blocking traffic on Monday.
As protesters claimed that Glenn was the victim of “cold-blooded murder”, soldiers toiled in the morning sun carting away mangled metal.
The refrain of recrimination is nothing new to security patrols in low-income communities in the capital, where there is deep mistrust between the police and army on one hand - and civilians, on the other hand.
One of the soldiers forced to take hands-on responsibility in the clean-up work lamented an earlier era when soldiers wielded such authority that they could commandeer residents and order them around.
“You have a thing name Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) and Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) now. From you tell di residents, dem start video and run go call dem. Before that, we just go inna the nearest yard and anybody we see, we tell dem fi come clear the road,” the soldier said while removing roadblock wreckage on North and Regent streets.
That erosion of decades-old reverence – fear even – of the army has been forewarned by critics of the increasing militarisation of Jamaica’s standard security apparatus, where familiarity proverbially breeds contempt.
Soldiers have become ubiquitous over the past five years of the Holness administration, widely used in zones of special operations, states of emergency, and the recent establishment of a joint task force.
What has emerged is brazen resistance to military authority, with regular accounts of scuffles and fights between civilians and soldiers and no restraint for foul-mouthed rants.
The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) reported that it had commenced an internal investigation into Glenn’s death and committed to cooperate with INDECOM.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force reported that eight JDF soldiers were on foot patrol along Charles Street when they saw four men who aroused their suspicion.
When they proceeded to search the individuals, they were allegedly spat on by residents.
The team was then approached by Glenn, who allegedly poured the contents of a beer bottle on them.
The police said that when the team attempted to accost Glenn, he ran into a yard, where a confrontation ensued.
During the tussle, Glenn reportedly held on to a soldier’s weapon, allegedly to disarm him, and was shot four times. He sustained injuries to the abdomen and was subsequently pronounced dead at the Kingston Public Hospital.
INDECOM Commissioner Hugh Faulkner said the watchdog has also commenced an independent investigation.
Countering the police narrative, Sheneka McDonald, Glenn’s oldest sister, said her brother was not a violent person.
“Horaine was a nice person. Only thing him do a drink and party. Him never hold a gun from him born,” McDonald said, dispelling suggestions that he attempted to disarm the soldier.
“The soldier lick him and him chuck him back and one a dem kick him, and mi aunty-in-law drag him and carry him up the yard. Him dead right in front him son, him babymother, and him mother,” she said of her account of what transpired on Saturday.
Glenn would have celebrated his 33rd birthday on May 18.
The residents are appealing for a speedy probe into the incident.
“A better dem did buss up him head. We would still have him with us. We nuh rate no soldier again. Mi did rate dem, but not again,” the resident said, as others sang in sync with Buju Banton’s song Murderer, which blared from speakers Monday afternoon.
The irate residents also hurled insults at the soldiers who returned to clear the blockage.