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Jun 23, 2017

ComPol Condemns Extortion Case by Cops on Ambergris Caye

Allen Whylie

Police Week concludes on Saturday with a massive parade through the streets of Belize City to culminate seven days of community-based activities.  While the department celebrated the professional achievements of the men and women of law enforcement, there are two officers whose names have been called earlier this week for breaking the law.  On Wednesday, Corporal Denfield Ramos and Special Constable Orlando Mendez were arraigned in the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court on charges of theft, extortion and aggravated assault.  That’s after the duo was arrested following a report made by a tourist who was visiting the island of Ambergris Caye.  According to Timothy Braun he was accused of smoking weed, handcuffed and taken to a remote area in the Boca del Rio area where he was held up at gunpoint by the officers.  Both men then proceeded to Braun’s apartment, turned it over and made off with five hundred U.S. dollars which they divided amongst themselves.  While swift disciplinary and penal measures have been taken against the men, it is an embarrassment for the Belize Police Department which is celebrating positive accomplishments within its rank.  Earlier today, Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie spoke about the incident and the department’s zero tolerance policy on illegalities conducted by its own.

 

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“Very unfortunate and regrettable incident, as I’ve always indicated at the department, we do not tolerate wrongdoing.  As long as it is brought to our attention we will definitely address it.  In that case the matter was investigated by the CIB officers out there and they concluded, after consulting with our legal officer, that we had sufficient evidence to charge and therefore those officers were charged.  There is the issue of free will which you know each individual has.  They, as the individual, have got to decide if they will do good or do bad and when they do bad, things like these occur and we address them and address them quickly.”

 

Reporter

“Now sir, specifically in this particular case, the O.C., Mr. Jemmott, was very strong in his condemnation as though he had overwhelming evidence and information that he was sufficiently convinced that these officers acted inappropriately.  Are you able to share with us, because the charges came rather swiftly, how you all cracked the case so quickly?”

 

Allen Whylie

“Well again, I wasn’t the investigator and so I cannot really share those kinds of details.  But based on what the commander informed me, I gave him certain directives and he complied with those by seeking the advice of our legal advisor, as well as the head of the prosecution branch and they were satisfied that we had sufficient evidence to make a case and that is why we arrested and charged swiftly.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, is that a concern of yours that these officers, it appears, abused these tourists who know very little about how our system works and so because he’s an officer of the law, it appeared as though he attacked or struck on a victim who was helpless, so to speak?”

 

Allen Whylie

“I am always concerned when there are any complaints against police officers and against the department, and that’s why I say we view them seriously and we go all out to either prove or disprove.  So whether or not it was a tourist involved or a local, it’s the same principle involved.  Officers should be professional and they should not be involved in these sort of alleged activities.”

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