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Nov 4, 2016

Supreme Court awards damages for victim of police beatdown

But government is settling out of court on another matter. In mid-April of last year, Orange Walk resident Andres Rodriguez was brutally assaulted by three police officers, under suspicion that he was involved in an incident that occurred sometime earlier. The trio was said to be following up on a report that Rodriguez had been stalking an unknown woman and they pursued him to his home where they beat him to a bloody pulp. The entire ordeal was caught on camera phone and upon its release online, went viral on social media. That footage, along with testimony in court, would be the officers’ undoing. They were caught red-handed administering a severe thrashing on Rodriguez and later faced disciplinary action for excessive use of force. But the matter didn’t end there. Rodriguez sued the police department via the Attorney General’s Office in a civil suit that was filed shortly after the incident. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled in Rodriguez’s favor and awarded him thirteen thousand dollars in damages. He was represented by attorney Kareem Musa who shared with News Five details of what transpired in court on Monday.   

 

Kareem Musa, Attorney for Andres Rodriguez

Kareem Musa

“The incident that was resolved in the Supreme Court on Monday of this week was between Andres Rodriguez, who is my client, and the Government of Belize which included the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Police and three police officers who are attached the Orange Walk Police Station.  In April 2015, those three police officers actually pursued my client to his home, they entered his yard without any search warrant, without any permission from the owners of the property and they proceeded to brutalize him.  I think that your viewers may have seen the images from Facebook or from your newscast where Mr. Rodriguez was, I mean, it’s hard to describe because you can see that he was trying to cry out for help.  He was totally taken advantage of, totally abused by the police department and unjustifiably so.  When you look at all the facts, a defenseless man who was actually on his own property being beaten down like that it’s a terrible situation.  It’s a terrible precedent that these police officers are setting and no doubt it is something that is becoming more and more prevalent.  So hopefully with cases like these we can see, we’ll hopefully see a shift in police’s policy, especially with technology these days.  Everybody has a camera phone and they are recording these incidents, so hopefully it does not get out of hand as this incident did.”

Isani Cayetano

“Now the fact that the matter has been dispensed with we can go into some details now.  What was the argument put forward by the officers in this particular instance?”

 

Kareem Musa

“They are saying that they were seeking out my client because they suspected him in relation to some offense.  Now mind you, they took him to the police station after brutalizing him.  They held him there unlawfully and then they released him a few hours later without any charges.  So clearly they had absolutely no reason to hold him.  They had no reason to suspect him or else they would have levied charges, particularly given the fact that they had just brutalized him; you would think that they would say, okay we have good grounds, let us arrest him, let us charge him with what we think is the offense he may have committed.  That did not happen, so in my opinion they had no right to abuse him, they had no right to detain him and that is why we pursued the matter in the Supreme Court.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Supreme Court awards damages for victim of police beatdown”

  1. Mike G. says:

    And what became of the ignorant cops? Guess they are still on the payroll . . . serving and protecting us. Right!

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