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Aug 19, 2014

Deputy ComPol arraigned for the manslaughter of Yolanda Valencia

In Succotz this morning, heated protestors set fire to used rubber tires along the George Price Highway.  The blockade was the result of residents demanding justice in the case of Yolanda Valencia who perished in a traffic accident which left twenty-eight-year-old Yanie Cu clinging to life at the KHMH.  The tragedy involved an intoxicated Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura, whose vehicle collided head-on into a cab driven at the time by Cu.  Today, residents gathered by the dozens, placards in hand against the backdrop of burning debris, demanding that justice be served.  This afternoon in the Belmopan Magistrates Court, Deputy Commissioner Miguel Segura, in the presence of Senior Counsel Ellis Arnold, was formally read six charges by Magistrate Aretha Ford.  They include manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, drove motor vehicle without due care and attention, driving with alcohol concentration above prescribed limit, negligent grievous harm and failing to alter direction to give way.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano was in the west today and has the following story.

 

In the aftermath of a fatal road traffic accident involving Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura on Saturday morning, residents of Succotz are still very much incensed.  The forty-eight-year-old senior officer, analysis would later prove, was driving his government-issued vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

 

ACP Aaron Guzman, Western Zone Commander

ACP Aaron Guzman

“Everybody has his or her constitutional rights, if it is there is a traffic accident; there is a process that we go through. There are some people suggesting that the alcohol test could have been done by the breathalyzer that is not yet legal in Belize, we do not go by that that is why blood was extracted and it was taken to the lab. There is a process that is done at the lab to test the content of the alcohol. It is I can say to you above the legally prescribed limit. What will happen now is Mr. Arzu has prepared those charges for the blood alcohol content. Where it pertains to the traffic accident, we sought the advice of the office of the D.P.P. We have now been given the legal advice from the off of the D.P.P. So charges are being prepared, so as not to be accused of doing the wrong thing, we have prepared those charges and we are asking the office of the D.P.P. to proofread the charge to see that we have the correct sections etcetera. As soon as that is done the justice of the peace will sign it, Mr. Arzu the arresting officer will sign, Mr. Segura will be charged at the station, that’s his constitutional rights.”

 

Although the circumstances surrounding the deadly collision are still being investigated by his colleagues in the department, Segura was this afternoon arraigned on six traffic offences, including manslaughter by negligence.  His indictment, however, succeeded the unrest outside of Benque Viejo this morning where scores of angry villagers blocked the highway with burning tires and debris.  Jose Lopez is part of the mob.

 

Jose Lopez

Jose Lopez, Resident of Succotz Village

“We have to stand and fight because justice is not given in Belize. We will make justice exist in Succotz, you see people like Yannie Cu he is fighting there to try to get a surgery and police are coming accosting him making him sign to be guilty. What you think about that, that isn’t fair.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“How long are you guys prepared to stand put here and prepare to protest to demand that the proper procedures be followed?”

 

Jose Lopez

“Well according to the people here all day. You would see we want justice. Everybody is saying we want justice, and what is justice for the police, nothing.”

 

Shortly after dawn, a scattering of men and women decided on obstructing the main thoroughfare into the village.  The police would later respond to the scene of the fire and dozens more would converge on the location during the course of the day.  Ordinarily, the combination of law enforcement officers, as well as a riot squad on standby, and livid protestors makes for a volatile situation.  In spite of this, today would not end in violence.  All they demanded was that ACP Segura be charged and made to face the music.

 

ASP Daniel Arzu

ASP Daniel Arzu, Lead Investigator

“I have prepared my charges I have served Mr. Segura with five copies of the traffic related offenses ranging from manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, negligent grievous harm, driving without due care and attention and driving with alcohol concentration. Now you all need to work with me because I need to have Mr. Segura arraigned here this morning and I need to access the road so that he can reach to the courtroom. The charges are here and it is signed by a Justice of the Peace. This is an original signature. Thank you.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Beyond the acrid plume are dozens of angry residents who are demanding justice for the manslaughter of one of Succotz’s own as well as a cab driver she was travelling in a vehicle with on Saturday morning when it collided in to the vehicle driven by Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura.”

 

Despite the angry throng demanding justice, the ground commanders would meet with the families of the accident victim, before addressing the media.

 

Aaron Guzman

“The situation out here like Mr. Thompson said we understand certain sentiments but there are other Belizeans who need to go about their normal business. However as you saw earlier when we came in we withdrew some of the Police officers, I want to say to the Residents of Succotz. You have to be careful of your economic viability. If it is a tourist village there is a lot of tourist as you see walking pass. So it will affect all of us. We will continue to be here to keep the peace and if these people decide that they want to picket and not block the street, the police will escort them to do their picketing, so we are only here to keep the peace and do our portion as the law allows.”

 

According to the mother of twenty-eight-year-old Yanie Cu, the only surviving victim, the family is in dire straits and cannot afford the cost of surgery.

 

Azucena Cu

Azucena Cu, Mother of Accident Victim

“The people is with me because the police don’t do nothing. The police don’t take my son when the accident happen. When the police reach and see my son inside the taxi, he went along and saw Segura and said what happen boss. So my cousin, instantly she died. What happened my son is in the hospital. We need twenty thousand dollars to let my son perform surgery. And if we don’t pay that my son won’t have that.”

 

The angst of the residents is fueled by viral amateur footage circulating across social media in which the Deputy Commissioner is seen casually exiting the damaged vehicle, lighting a cigarette and fixing his pants.

 

Protestor

Protestor

“You see when he pulling up his pants, smoking like nothing happen. If I do that I must come out run and help the victim. So he don’t do that. So we are upset. All the people here are from Succotz. So what was he doing with his pants down?

 

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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8 Responses for “Deputy ComPol arraigned for the manslaughter of Yolanda Valencia”

  1. Rod says:

    My heart goes out to this family because their ignorance is overwhelming unu need fu get a lawyer right away then unu need fu sue this pm and gov because he was driving a gov vehicle therefore you can sue them for drunken driving and make sure unu sue them for at least 10’000’000’000 dollars at least and if the hospital refuses to perform the operation then sue them also since the police or this pm has offered you nothing sue them get a good lawyer like Lisa shoman don’t not wait do it now or this corrupt gov. Will something for this man to get off he should not have been granted bail since he committed murder murder murder so continue the burnings.

  2. Uncle Benji says:

    All right Succotz, way to go! Burn baby burn. Dean Barrow’s office is next..

    The video caught the dirty, fat belly policeman pulling up his trousers, but………………………………. this was only after pissing on the corpse.

    Burn baby burn.

  3. mans says:

    Main i proud of you people of succotz. You are all like the Caneros… demanding justice and you got it… now stand firm and be ready to ensure that it is NOT like a Penner and Castro case.

  4. Elgin Martinez says:

    Vigilante Justice is what works in Belize.Sad but true.

  5. CEO says:

    This is what will happen when the public has no confidence in the judicial system and in the police department.

    If the public had confidence they would at the very least wait for the verdict before they protest.

    The public is just tired of the injustice and the “distasteful” (according to the PM not illegal) behavior of the those who are in charge!

    Enough is enough!

  6. aldo says:

    Yes the blood is in their hands but why are we so short sighted. down with the UDP but let us not forget the hell of the PUP. Blood is also on their hands n they need to pay as well . Be fair n equal to all Belizeans .

  7. phyllis griffith says:

    This is such a sad situation. My heart goes out to the families of the victims. While I don’t condone violence of any kind, this is what happens when their is no faith in the judicial system. It is shameful that a man of such a position, abuse and break the very law he is entrusted to uphold. Shame on the cop who went to him first and asked ‘ what happenned Boss” instead of attending to the injured. That person is a ‘yes’ man. I applaud ASP Daniel Arzu for keeping calm and so far doing his job. Mr. Segura should be fired instantly, that should be the first course of justice, not suspension. I hope the hospital will give the other injured person the surgery he so desparately needs. These doctors in Belize have abandoned the Hippocratic Oath and are inhumane to those who cannot afford health care. Shame on them especially Medical Associates. They too have blood on their grimy hands.

  8. Pelican says:

    Who if any was his passenger! There is silence on that!!

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