Jamaica government faces multimillion dollar lawsuit for death in Dudus debacle

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday May 27, 2013 – Three years after members of the security forces went into Tivoli Gardens in search of Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who was wanted in the United States on gun running and drug trafficking charges, the family of a businessman who was shot and killed during the exercise has filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the Jamaica government.

Businessman and accountant Keith Clarke was at his home in the upscale Corporate Area community of Kirkland Heights on May 27, 2010, with his wife and daughter when several members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) descended on the family home.  

Attorney Leonard Green, who is representing Clarke’s widow  Claudette and daughter Brittini in the J$18 million (one Jamaica dollar = US$0.01 cents) lawsuit, claims that the joint police military personnel cut the metal grill to the entrance of the house and then unleashed a barrage of gunshots.

The lawsuit notes that the military and police were engaged in sustained gunfire on the house, while the deceased and claimants were inside. The family reportedly made several phone calls to the police, other emergency services and neighbours for help, but received no assistance.

Clarke reportedly went for his licensed firearm, but was unable to withstand the sustained assault of the masked men.  

Clarke was shot 21 times in the back. The claimants argue that at no time were they attacking the soldiers who were later charged in connection with Clarke’s death.

The lawsuit also claims that at no time was the family hosting Coke and/or eight heavily armed men in their home on the day the security forces attacked the house.

Coke, who later surrendered to law enforcement officials and was extradited to the United States, was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison. He received the maximum sentences on one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering. He had pleaded guilty to the charges.(CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)