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Shackelia Jackson will not give up. When her brother was gunned down by police in 2014, she made sure that Jamaica’s independent investigators secured the crime scene. The police had been pursuing a “Rastafarianlooking” suspect in a robbery, and Nakiea fitted that description. They found him in his small restaurant and shot him dead. Police killings of mainly young and mostly poor men is all too common in Jamaica, with some 2,000 killed in the past decade.
Shackelia was determined not to let Nakiea’s story end there. She has battled a badly underfunded, sluggish court system to lead a bold fight for justice. In doing so, she has rallied dozens of families whose loved ones have been similarly killed, amplifying their cries for justice.
The police have responded by raiding her community, timing the raids to coincide with court dates. They have also intimidated Shackelia and her family. But Shackelia refuses to be silenced. She says their attempts only reinforce her belief in what’s right. “I fight because I have no other choice,” she says. “To stop would mean I am giving another police officer permission to kill another of my brothers.”