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Jun 15, 2017

Police Minister Wants Investigation to Take Course in Chunox Shooting

An internal investigation conducted by the Professional Standards Branch into an officer-involved fatality in Chunox Village is ongoing.  On Friday evening, forty-four-year-old Richard Garcia was shot and killed when a team of four policemen visited a residence in that rural community in the Corozal District to carry out an eviction of the handyman.  According to the officers, Garcia charged at them with a machete and they had no other recourse but to fire at him with their service weapon. A barrage of shots was fired and according to police three made their mark on Garcia’s head and neck.  The incident has raised serious concerns about the deadly use of force as it pertains to subduing hostile citizens.  This morning, News Five spoke with Minister of State Elodio Aragon Junior who says that despite the police department coming under fire once again for the manner in which the incident was handled, an inquiry is underway to determine whether those fatal shots were indeed justified.  According to the career law enforcement officer turned Minister of Police, the excessive use of force to take down Garcia may have been relative to the threat posed to the officers’ lives.

 

Isani Cayetano

“The incident involving the officers in Chunox Village that resulted in the shooting death of a civilian, from all accounts it would seem to be another black eye on the police department, in the way in which this particular situation was handled.  Your comments sir?”

 

Elodio Aragon Jr.

Elodio Aragon Jr., Minister of State, Police

“Well I don’t understand where you’re coming from.  As far as we know from the ministry and what we want to ensure is that a proper investigation is done.  We all know the police have a tough job to do, you know.  The information that has been received, the police have done, in terms of the investigation, recording statements from the police officers that were there, the situation that occurred.  Of course, we always invite people who are out there who may have seen the incident to come in and give their report because at the end of the day the ministry level has to see a proper investigation and that has to be done.  Definitely, the police officers claim it was self-defense, et cetera and that is why the police department has launched an official investigation into this.  We’ve also had the Professional Standards Branch send members of that unit to ensure that the investigation is done properly and to investigate to ensure that the police acted within the rules that govern justifiable force and harm.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“I wouldn’t want to try the case in the court of public opinion, but there are a few questions that I would still like to ask that are relevant to what transpired in Chunox Village.  Do you believe, as someone with extensive law enforcement background that this may have been somewhat excessive in terms of the use of force used to subdue or put down this individual?”

 

Elodio Aragon Jr.

“Well, you know, I wasn’t there so it’s hard for me to comment on something like that.  You know, unless you are there and have been through that situation then you can properly comment.  For me to comment on that would be improper because I wasn’t there.  That is why an investigation has been and is being carried out.  People from the Professional Standards Branch have been sent there and this occurs not only in this country, it occurs all over the country, all over the world.  Where there are incidents where police end up using lethal force, you know, and there’s a process in place and that process is being put to work.”

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