Jamaican Violence Hits Home in Brooklyn

Jamaican community in Brooklyn is expressing fear and anger over violent clashes in Kingston, Jamaica

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Police patrol on May 24, 2010 in Kingston, Jamaica after two police officers were killed after coming under attack amid spreading unrest despite a state of emergency imposed by the government. Six police were wounded in the incident on Sunday after police responded to a call for help from a female motorist, the Jamaican police force's Constabulary Communications Network said. It said the two police officers died after being taken to the University of the West Indies Hospital. Jamaica's prime minister vowed tough action against a frenzy of gang violence in Kingston, imposing a state of emergency to curb armed supporters of an alleged druglord sought by the United States. aAFP PHOTO/ANTHONY FOSTER (Photo credit should read Anthony FOSTER/AFP/Getty Images)

    Though the violence appears to be subsiding in West Kingston, Jamaica, it is little comfort to the vast Jamaican community in East Flatbush Brooklyn.

    Nearly 50 people have been killed so far in the war-like clash between the Jamaican military and the supporters of international drug king pin Christopher 'Dudas' Coke.
    Many Jamaicans living in New York have struggled to reach family members trapped in their homes in Kingston.  East Flatbush resident Jennine Chung has family down there.  She grows more worried everyday watching the gunfire erupt on the news.
    "It's like right at the tip of the war, where my family is.  So it's a little bit nerve racking because my aunt just went down and she's right in the midst of it.  She's stuck and can't come back."
    Walking the streets in the war torn neighborhoods is considered unsafe.
    Meanwhile the military's main target may have disappeared.  Jamaican officials are now reporting they have yet to find Coke.  They suspect he might have fled the country.  
    It is the search for Coke that sparked the violence over the weekend.  The US wants Coke extradited here to New York on drug charges.  His loyal supporters have vowed to protect him to the death.  This notoriously violent drug dealer also builds schools and health centers in impoverished Jamaican neighborhoods.  It took 9 months of political maneuvering to convince the Jamaican prime minister to extradite.  Coke was allegedly instrumental in the prime minister's election. 
    Here in Brooklyn, community leader and radio DJ, Sharon Gordon, is organizing a massive town hall meeting tomorrow night at St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church in East Flatbush.  She expects hundreds of frustrated and worried Jamaican New Yorkers to turn out and express their fears and frustrations to the Jamaican Consul General, who is also expected to attend.
    "This is crazy.  How can one person have so much power?  They call him President.  Jamaica only has a Prime Minister, but they call him the President,"  Said Gordon.
    She says the majority of Jamaicans in New York are cheering the extradition effort.  They want to see Coke behind bars.
    "People are so nervous.  Enough is enough."