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Oct 19, 2016

Police Charge Cayo Men for Beating Up a Cop

Sanjay Casey & Belhem Guzman

Sanjay Casey and Belhem Guzman, both of Camalote village, Cayo District, were today read charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm, use of deadly means of harm, and aggravated assault. Casey was separately charged with damage to property while Guzman was additionally charged with common assault. The charges stem from an incident on the night of October sixteenth, when Police Constable Mark Rodriguez was at a bar in Camalote village. He was surprised by his attackers and was left in a now critical condition at hospital. Superintendent Howell Gillett, Officer Commanding Belmopan formation, commended his officer as exemplary in his duties. He stated that according to police investigations, the constable was attacked first, which are contrary to allegations by villagers who claimed the opposite happened.

 

Howell Gillett

Supt. Howell Gillett, O.C., Belmopan Police Formation

“It seems that prior to the incident the Belmopan police made an arrest for drug possession, and the persons who allegedly hurt Mister Rodriguez believed that he was the one who called the police on them, and hence the reason for the beatdown.  The incident came to us as a surprise, especially considering P.C. Rodriguez. He is one of the most humblest persons I have ever worked with. He is very obedient, he is loyal to the organization, and so it took us by surprise. We wouldn’t seek revenge on anybody; that’s not the job of the Police. We have to do our job, and we did that, and nobody could complain that they were ever hurt while they were in police custody. And I believe that the law will take its course,  as the case proceeds. The statements that we have – and these are from people who were on the scene at the time; I presume those who were speaking weren’t people who were on the scene – and the statements that we have in our possession at this time, all the statements reveal that P.C. Rodriguez was first hit from behind the head, and he fell to the ground, and it was then that the two men allegedly beat up on him, causing the injuries that I alluded to earlier.  You saw the men – the two men went to court just now, and I didn’t observe any injuries on them. So I won’t get into a back and forth as to who did what first, but the investigation that we have undertaken shows us that yes, the police was there; he was there to meet with somebody, and it was – my understanding is, based on the statements that P.C. Rodriguez wasn’t drinking, as a matter of fact he had just come off duty at the time of the incident on Sunday. So I wouldn’t be in any back and forth with any family – because I am sure that the people who are saying that are family members – so I wouldn’t be in any back and forth as to who is guilty. This case will go before the Court, and I believe we have a very good case to present to the Court when the time comes.”

 

Mark Rodriguez

According to Superintendent Gillett, Constable Rodriguez, who was in uniform but coming off duty and on his way home, sustained a broken jaw in two places, swollen eyes, brain swelling and other injuries. He will be sent home to recover from the swelling and await surgery to fix his other injuries. It was police on mobile patrol which responded to the scene and not the Constable calling for backup. At Belmopan Magistrate’s Court, Magistrate Emerita Anderson did not take a plea from the accused for the first four charges, which are indictable; the men pleaded not guilty to the remaining charges. Bail was denied and the men remanded until December sixteenth. 

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