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Jul 25, 2017

Dangriga teen at odds with police after being shot

The family of Ashton Augustine in Dangriga says they want answers from the police because the seventeen-year-old boy was shot under what they consider an excessive use of force. His aunt says that he was with friends playing football on Sunday evening when on his way home, he stopped with his friends on Ecumenical Drive. As they went to make a purchase at a nearby grocery store, he waited for them at a nearby shed. It was during that time that they allege that a police officer approached the teen and shot him in the leg for no apparent reason.  The aunt says that there was little exchange between the teen and the officer, who pulled the trigger. So, what led to the shooting? The family says there are more questions than answers. Police issued a report on the incident, but we will get to that shortly. Here’s what the family of Augustine is saying about what happened.

 

Via Phone: Nancy Flores, Aunt of Shooting Victim

“His friends gone dah the Chiney fuh buy and then when he was there the police approached and then he walked away and the police man shot him; that’s the story. So, we still have question about why or what transpired or whatever.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did the policeman ask to conduct a search or anything of that nature?”

 

Via Phone: Nancy Flores

“No, ma’m. No search; nothing.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“No search – did they exchange any words with your nephew?”

 

Via Phone: Nancy Flores

“Deh say, ‘bwai what are you doing here?’ And then he just walked away because he didn’t want any problem with the police and I guess because he didn’t turn around so they just shot him. And the shot was close range if you see the wound, it is very close.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“To which part of the body was he shot?”

 

Via Phone: Nancy Flores

“In his leg – his upper right leg.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, it wasn’t a case of the police telling him to stop and he resisted arrest or anything of that nature?”

Via Phone: Nancy Flores

“According to him, no, they didn’t tell him to stop.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, your nephew, is he the type of guys who hangs out or has he had any interaction with the law before [the officers]?”

 

Via Phone: Nancy Flores

“Well, he dah no somebody weh have interactions with the police but dah nuh somebody weh listen to ih ma either. He always following bad company. He dah nuh wah saint.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you think that unnecessary or undue force was used?”

 

Via Phone: Nancy Flores

“I believe that excessive force was used, abuse of authority because if police wah shoot somebody, mien yuh life have to be threatened by someone for you to use such excessive force on a child.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And your nephew wasn’t armed or anything like that?”

 

Via Phone: Nancy Flores

“He wasn’t armed or anything. They don’t even give him a charge. He is not even charged.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you know if there were other cops on the scene at this time of this incident?”

 

Via Phone: Nancy Flores

“Yes. Because it was in a mobile patrol. According to the police, they got a call from the resident that a burglary was happening in that area and when they got there they saw the kids there and I guess they just react to it. They shoot and then ask questions.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And your nephew wasn’t a suspect or anything in this burglary – as far as you know?”

 

Via Phone: Nancy Flores

“As far as I know, there wasn’t even a burglary. They can’t even show it and if there was a burglary they should be able to show something that they were going to – you can’t go burglarize with your bare hand, you have to carry something if that is the case. They are monitoring the wound because they will transport him to Belmopan because they will need to take out the bullet and they need it to heal up first and to see what will be the outcome of that.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, this has happened, what is the family looking for or hoping to get from the police with respect to this incident that has happened?”

 

Via Phone: Nancy Flores

“The family di seek legal advice because we want to let the police who did it answer. All we want is some answers .”

 

Now, to the police report issued today on the incident. According to the police, it was sometime around eight-fifty on Sunday night that officers were called to an area on Ecumenical Drive where they observed four male persons in a yard near a vegetable shop. Police say that the persons immediately ran behind a building and the officers pursued them. One of the responding cops say one of the young men advanced towards him with an object in his hand. The officer told the individual to stop, but he didn’t and as a result, the officer fired one shot from his issued rifle, hitting the person in the leg. His injury was classified as grievous harm. Police say that the matter is under investigation by Professional Standard Branch.

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