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Mar 19, 2018

Police to Move on Avocado Harassers

Last week’s brush with the law left a nasty taste in the mouth for avocado vendor Lauriel Novelo. The teenager from San Victor, Corozal, was unnecessarily roughed up by members of the Special Patrol Unit outside the Michael Finnegan Market, where he had gone to deliver a few sacks of avocados to his sister, a market vendor. The police had thought it was contraband but Novelo was cleared by the Customs Department and Belize Agricultural Health Authority. Novelo and his family demanded that then-head of Professional Standards Branch and Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams intervene, and within hours he had promised to do so. On Sunday he spoke about what was being done.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations)

“I did [see] the video and I was disturbed by it. Whether or not the avocados were contraband, is not something I think the police were in a position to say. And for them to have done what they did in terms of taking the avocado – and eventually I saw them in a drain, destroyed – I think it was rather unprofessional. And as such, those officers must be dealt with and some effort must be made for them to compensate that young man for his products. In a situation like that, it could have been handled differently as well: if the police is trying to take the young man to the station, obviously there is nothing to suggest that he had committed a crime – so he was not compelled to go with them. They could have left an officer too there at the market, go and get BAHA or Customs, bring them to the market area to see the goods, and if they say it is contraband, then they take it; if they say it was not, then they [leave] it there.”

 

Williams said that alternatively the police could have given Novelo a receipt indicating that they were holding the avocados for Customs and BAHA to check. He also noted that it is not necessary for onlookers to be rude with police while they are doing their jobs; where possible, cooperation is preferred as there are ways of dealing with any rights violations.

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1 Response for “Police to Move on Avocado Harassers”

  1. asdkjer says:

    Thanks, somehow it sounds as we get some relief, but it still hurts because of memory, however, we`ll try to forgive so that our Lord Father in Heaven also forgive us, Amen.

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