A bereaved family from the Linstead area of St. Catherine has described as an ‘unbelievable nightmare’, the police killing of 29-year-old Richard Johnson, better known as ‘Richie’.
“This has brought us pain and grief, and we are all still trying to cope and process this unbelievable nightmare,” said Stephen Davis, who presented the eulogy virtually during his cousin’s burial at Commodore Cemetery in Linstead on Wednesday, April 28.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said Johnson was killed ‘during a confrontation with the police’ about 1:20AM on February 16 along the Spanish Town leg of P.J. Patterson Highway.
No weapon was recovered from the deceased.
The incident is being probed by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).
The deceased man’s mother, Charlene Davis, who was a picture of grief at the burial, noted that details of the shooting are still sketchy, and that she would not cast blame until the necessary investigations are completed.
She further told The Beacon: “I think justice will take its course… I am honestly not in a position to say anything about what the police say more than my son is dead, I am still grieving, and I will always grieve…
“We know we are in a pandemic – and the system was already slow. So this [COVID-19 pandemic] is even moving it a little slower. But I pray and I hope that we will get an answer…” the mother further said, adding that she is not cognizant of her son being involved in any wrongdoing.
“I know that my son was a good kid. Anybody that know Richard know that he is a nice guy.”
Meanwhile, Stephen, in the eulogy, said he had a strong bond with his late cousin since childhood.
“He (Johnson) spent most of his early life in an extreme battle with asthma, which affected every aspects of his life growing up,” Stephen commented.
“He was a lot of things to a lot of people, but, to us his family, he was a champion – a true champion… He was one of the brightest, humblest persons you would ever meet. Despite that, he was always the life of the party.”
Stephen further told the gathering that Johnson was multi-talented. “If you needed a mechanic, you could call on him. If you needed a plumber or electrician, you could call on him. If you needed someone to do your home or tile your floor or build your entire house from the ground up, you could call on him for that as well… He was a very well-rounded person with the ability to build or fix almost anything.”
Stephen also expressed confidence that, had Johnson still being alive, he would have been a ‘great dad’.
“I was really really looking forward to seeing the type of father that he would have been for his son who is on the way,” he added.
Stephen also noted that the family will join forces and ensure that Johnson’s son is supported when he is born.
“When his child is finally born – all of us, each and every one of us will make sure that that child will never be in need of anything. That’s the kind of family we are; that’s the kind of family we intend to be,” he said.
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