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Sep 25, 2018

Caught on Video: 2 Students Manhandled by Officers

Two young students from Santa Elena, Cayo were manhandled by the police; the images were caught on cell phone camera and posted on social media. The incident was witnessed by a number of students and has caused uproar in the west and elsewhere. The duo has been released by the cops without charges and an investigation has been launched by the Professional Standards Bureau of the Police Department. Today, News Five’s Duane Moody headed west and spoke to the family of the young men.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Social media became abuzz since Monday afternoon after multiple videos were posted of officers, believed to be that of the Special Patrol Unit in the west, manhandling a student before he was picked up and thrown into the pan of a police pickup truck. During the incident, an officer was also seen kicking a male student. And despite intervention by two educators to quell tensions, the teachers’ queries were ignored before the vehicle drove off with two persons detained. It all happened outside the gates of SDA Eden High School in Santa Elena, Cayo. So were the actions by the officers warranted? That’s what an ongoing investigation by the Professional Standards Branch of the Police Department is looking to find out.

According to the Principal Erodito Pineda, police picked up a person who stood waiting outside the compound. That person is Bernard Kevin Neal, a student of Saint Ignatius High School, who had skipped classes that day; he was wanted for questioning in reference to the theft of a bicycle.

 

Cristina Mantilla

Cristina Mantilla, Brother of Bernard Neal

“They mi di accuse my breda as ih mi thief wah bike and which my breda tell we that dah lone lie because he mi di get his bike from ina di man yard—well yes he was in the man yard and it mi wrong weh he do because he neva shoulda mi gone ina di man yard. So he gone get his bike weh he lend the man son. My breda even tell me that ih even chop di tire from his bike weh ih shoulda mi even do that either.”

 

Naciera Neal, Mother of Bernard Neal [Translated]

“What I think is that it was really wrong for police to hit that poor boy; he was only defending the injustice against my son. My son was outside. I went to the college today to ask the question about it. And he said he saw my son standing outside, waiting for his cousin. The police passed by and took him. His cousin came to his defence and then they beat him and I do not agree with that.  And I am now going to defend my son…if they did that to his cousin, what would they do if they see him in the street.”

 

According to Naciera Neal, the issue with her son is personal because her son is involved with the daughter of a police officer, who does not approve of the relationship.

 

Naciera Neal

Naciera Neal

“It is all personal. I am not going to mention the name of the police officer or anything else. But what is happening is person. And so I am going to ask for justice. If no one else is going to do it, I am going to protect my son because he is my son. And if something happens to my son…”

 

This occurred around two-thirty p.m., when classes were dismissed for students at the high school. Seeing his cousin being detained by the officers, eighteen-year-old third former Elvin Neal hurried towards the police mobile, questioning why his cousin was being taken by law enforcement officers. But that did not end well for Elvin because he too was taken into custody; but not without resistance and disapproval from his peers who stood watch. But even if the student was disrespectful to the officers were their actions justified?

 

Cristina Mantilla

“That dah my cousin. If my cousin mi di go on anyway police shoulda mi gone on so with him too. I know my cousin, he kinda gangsterous and thing so he noh wah left ihself; he ignorant. But police neva had no right fi do he that. Dah my breda and my cousin and it hurt me so much to see how they treat them like if dehn dah animals. We all dah humans and we shouldn’t be treated like that.”

 

Naciera Neal [Translated]

“Unjustifiably, they beat the poor boy. When they released him from the police station, he showed us swellings on his head. And so I do not agree with that. And he lift up his shirt and showed us that they hit him several times in the stomach. That isn’t right that they did that to a boy. If the mother did nothing, and I was his mother, I wouldn’t have left it like that because that is my son, my blood. He isn’t my relative but I hurts me because he is the relative of my son.”

 

Hours later, Bernard and Elvin was released from the San Ignacio Police Station without charges. Today, they were back at their respective schools.

 

Bernard Kevin Neal & Elvin Neal

Cristina Mantilla

“They release my breda because he neva do nothing and the same man weh arrest ahn, he same one release ahn; he same one bail ahn out. So they neva give he no charge or nothing; they neva charge my breda.”

 

This morning, several officers visited SDA Eden High School and recorded statements from students as well as teachers on the incident. Principal Pineda says that Elvin Neal was disrespectful to the officers and as a result the disciplinary committee at the school will address that. Duane Moody for News Five.

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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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