the disastrous raid to arrest Jamaican druglord Christopher "Dudus" Coke. At the DEA's insistence, Jamaican authorities reluctantly raided Tivoli Gardens, the West Kingston slum Coke ran as a de facto governor, two years ago. Coke didn't turn up, but Jamaican police officers killed 73 civilians, many of them allegedly in cold blood. A Department of Homeland Security surveillance plane was overhead the whole time.
Coverage at the time portrayed the raid as a military-style showdown between Coke's heavily fortified forces and Jamaican shock troops. But Schwartz, who spent three months in and around Tivoli Gardens reconstructing the battle, reports that Coke's forces actually faded away shortly after the conflict began. Jamaican security forces claimed that many of the civilian casualties—among them a 25-year-old American citizen—were Coke's gunmen. But they only recovered six guns. Only one police officer was killed.
According to Schwartz, many of the dead were summarily executed by police officers as they went house-to-house looking for Coke.
While this was going on, a Department of Homeland Security surveillance plane was circling overhead, providing Jamaican authorities with intelligence and videotaping the whole thing. Schwartz obtained documentary evidence of the surveillance flight via the Freedom of Information Act, forcing the Jamaican government to retract claims it made at the time of the raid that the U.S. played no role.
But Homeland Security is refusing to release the video itself—even though it may contain evidence of atrocities committed by Jamaican police officers—in part on the preposterous ground that it would constitute an "invasion of personal privacy."
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