(Observer)Loved ones of Mannie James – the jet ski operator who was killed during a shooting incident involving the police late last month – have reached a quarter of their goal on crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, as they prepare to lay the 45-year-old who is described as ‘the ultimate family man’ to rest.
James suffered fatal gunshot wounds on July 31 during a high-speed chase with the police and soldiers that started during a routine stop-and-search operation on Lauchland Benjamin Drive.
Reports are that the man, who was confirmed to be unarmed at the time, was shot while attempting to evade the lawmen in Gray’s Farm, on foot, after the vehicle chase came to an end.
A GoFundMe profile with the title “Mr Manny James” has been established for donations from the public and has so far received US$650 of its US$2500 target.
A message on the profile reads that “the funds raised will not only contribute to the eventual funeral costs, once the investigation is complete, but will also provide vital support for his children in the upcoming months.
“Let’s rally around this cause to ensure that Manny’s children are able to find strength and stability during this difficult period,” the message went on.
Meanwhile, the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) is expressing disappointment that, considering the circumstances in which James lost his life, the government has not stepped forward with financial support.
According to the party’s Public Relations Officer Damani Tabor, it is incumbent on the government to play such a role in this and other similarly tragic situations.
“We in the UPP are of the view that his family should not be having to do a fundraiser. Quite frankly, in the circumstances, the government should advance the funds to assist with the funeral expenses.
“And, more broadly speaking, they should look at relevant funding being set aside for victims of fire and other disasters, and these very adverse victims of the crime situation,” Tabor said during a recent appearance on Observer AM.
The government has assured that no stone will be left unturned in the investigation into James’ death, with a Coroner’s Inquest already approved.
The lawmen said to have been involved in the incident have been taken off frontline duty in order to receive counselling.