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Aug 3, 2015

Did Residents of Culture Capital enact Vigilante Justice on Anwar Garbutt?

Anwar Garbutt

How far is too far for citizens to take matters in their own hands? Well, it is believed that they went too far in Dangriga this morning when a man was beaten to death. The man, identified as a resident of Belize City, is said to have been living in Dangriga up to the time of the incident. According to residents of the town, during his time in that municipality, he gained a reputation for exposing himself to young girls. That is exactly what they claimed he did today and that led to the deadly attack.  News Five went south today to get more details of this story.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Here on Isla Road in the “Back-a-town” area, residents beat thirty-four-year-old Anwar Garbutt to death. On the ground, it’s a story of residents taking matters into their own hands to protect their children, but for police this is a criminal investigation. According to multiple sources, shortly after eight this morning, Garbutt exposed himself to a female minor. When residents in the neighbourhood caught wind of the incident, they pursued Garbutt. It is alleged that the angry mob of about twenty people ran after Garbutt for quite a distance across the Back-a-town area. Garbutt was caught by at least four persons. According to Dangriga Police, they were called out shortly before nine and when they arrived, Garbutt was dead.

 

Mark Stephens

ASP Mark Stephens, Acting Commander, Dangriga Police

“Police Officers including members of our crime investigation branch was dispatched to the area and they later confirmed that there was an incident where a male person who was later identified as Anwar Garbutt. He is a thirty four year old labourer. He apparently took out his private part and shook it at a female minor in the community. And members of that community responded by chasing him and they apparently caught up with him. We were informed that it was about four persons who beat him up and he later succumbed to those injuries that he received.”

 

It is said that minutes before he was killed, Garbutt ran under this house and was beaten here with multiple tools used as weapons in this case. While residents in the area wouldn’t give an interview, they claimed that rocks, pieces of board and bottles were used on Garbutt and he was dragged out on the street in front of this tree. He sustained massive head injuries and died shortly after. Police say the details cannot be disclosed at this time.

 

ASP Mark Stephens

“We are currently investigating the matter. It is still in its embryonic stages so; I wouldn’t want to comment on that right now because I wouldn’t want to jeopardize the integrity of that investigation.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, at this time, no-one is in police detention with respect to this incident?”

 

ASP Mark Stephens

“At this moment, no.”

 

But what police can confirm is that Garbutt is no stranger to the law. He has been convicted of indecent exposure in the past. What police couldn’t confirm for us were the multiple reports that Garbutt may have also committed similar acts in a village in southern Belize. Residents of the “Back-a-town” area also told us that this isn’t the first time he has exposed himself to girls in the community.

 

ASP Mark Stephens

“I can say to you that we have confirmed that he had been charged with exposing his person in public before. We believe that this situation isn’t unique based on what we are hearing is that others may have happened which were not reported.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you’d say that this individual still has matters before the court?”

 

ASP Mark Stephens

“Yes. We have a matter before the court with him regarding unlicensed firearm and we know that he has been convicted for drug charges and theft before so he is no stranger to police.”

 

But did the residents’ attempt of vigilante justice go too far? Will it prove to be a challenge for investigators in Dangriga, considering that it involves people from a close knit community? Well, the investigation is still in its early stages. No one wanted to speak directly about what they witnessed because of the nature of the issue and also because they didn’t want to implicate themselves. But Police are hopeful that they will get the information they are looking for and they have started by asking for the individuals to come forward.

 

ASP Mark Stephens

“We enjoy a fairly good relationship and we always at the end of the day, they always come through for us and we believe that at the end of the day they will come through for us and I am certain that they will for us again.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So at this time they are cooperating with police and giving you the information?”

 

ASP Mark Stephens

“Well, so far, right. So far, we have been looking for one “Bloggo”. We know “Bloggo” to be one Ryan McKenzie. And also there is another person known as “Pep” who we are looking for and believe can assist us in our investigation.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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2 Responses for “Did Residents of Culture Capital enact Vigilante Justice on Anwar Garbutt?”

  1. Timber says:

    This is a long time coming. This is the start of many more of this. I’ve long said it and we’ve had discussions; people are fed up with the crime in Belize, especially hard-working citizens. More of this will happen because the ignorant, illiterate police officers are inept, have no public relations tact and are the same ones who call your name when you do report a crime to them. Then, a lot of times when they go to investigate incidents and crimes, they make the matters worst. There is absolutely no trust between the public and the police officers and it will only deteriorate even more. I’m sorry he had to lose his life but he lost it out of frustration and lack of action from law enforcement. Now, that same vigilante justice should be doled out to some of these boys and their families out there that randomly kill people and take innocent lives. I bet when some of them get shot or their sisters or mothers or brothers get gunned down then crime will recede in Belize. We also need an efficient set of people in the prosecutorial’s office so that these cases don’t tank; as well as less interference from outside forces who have special interests in a lot of these cases.

  2. CEO says:

    Sad but will become a reality when there is no public confidence in law enforcement and the judiciary.

    Truth is that if this continues street justice will deter many from committing crimes but many innocent people will also meet swift punishment for crimes they did not commit.

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