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Jan 2, 2019

Caught on Video: San Pedro Cops Beat Down Civilians

Two rogue cops have been placed on suspension. They are Samir Medina and Tyrell Rowley, who were caught on camera beating up two men in the Boca del Rio area of San Pedro. One of the officers pulled out a firearm during the violent ordeal and one of the victims is believed to be a teenager.  The videos, which have gone viral, do not show what led to the beat down, but it shows the victims already subdued on the ground as the cops administered the chilling beating in front of many bystanders apparently unconcerned that the violence was being recorded.  The behaviour of the two cops is being met with widespread condemnation by wary citizens who have lost confidence in the lawmen entrusted to protect them. The Police was quizzed today at a press brief. Here is Duane Moody with the following report.

 

Tyrell Rowley & Samir Medina

Duane Moody, Reporting

Two incredible videos went viral overnight on social media. All though from different angles, it captured what is being described as downright cruelty at the hands of no other that those who are assigned to protect the citizenry, police officers. The videos show the chilling brutality of two persons—one reportedly a teenager—on San Pedro. One is stomped and another, while on the ground, is whacked several times before one of the two officers forcefully kicked a man on the ground, rendering him unconscious. The officers were along with a civilian, who despite the outcry from onlookers, continued on their rampage. Even as one of the victims was knocked out on the ground, an officer held his foot on the person’s head. Quick reaction from the top brass of the department has since lead to the suspension of Police Constables 1919 Samir Medina and 2287 Tyrell Rowley. Both officers, who were assigned to the San Pedro Police Formation, have officially been placed a seven-day suspension pending the results of both criminal and internal investigation.

 

Chester Williams, Acting ComPol

“I can tell you that we have since placed those two officers on administrative leave pending a criminal and internal investigation, which is being conducted by the Professional Standards Branch. The conduct depicted by the video is not what we expect of our officers and so the Belize Police Department condemns the action of those two officers in the strongest term and we are going to ensure that we do what needs to be done to correct the problem.”

 

The incident occurred outside of Playa Bar and Grill located in the Boca Del Rio Area on Beach Front Drive as patrons celebrated the New Year on the island.  According to Acting Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, the department will work along with the many who witnessed the brutality at the hands of the lawmen to provide the level of evidence to levy charges against the two police officers.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams

“As I’ve said, the investigation being conducted by PSB is a criminal and internal investigation.”

 

Reporter

Are you aware of what circumstances may have preceded this?”

 

Chester Williams

“At this moment, no. We are waiting to hear from the investigators on the ground.”

 

Earlier today, the Human Rights Commission of Belize issued a release on the incident saying that the horrifying video is deeply disturbing and that actions like those of the offending officers do not accord with the expectations of the law nor the public and must be condemned with expedition and sternness. Although outside of the country, vice president of the Commission, Kevin Arthurs spoke out via phone today about the rogue actions of the officers.

 

Voice of: Kevin Arthurs, Vice President, Human Rights Commission of Belize

“We like most right-mined members of the country were disturbed by the actions of this police officer because the police is invested with the trust of the public and this trust must be guarded. The Commission was unable based on the various footage that was shared with us to find any justifications in the actions of the police officer. We simply asked ourselves under what conditions or circumstances is it okay to kick an unarmed subdued civilian in the head?”

 

But Playa Bar and Grill has given some clarity as to what transpired saying in an official statement on their Facebook page that (Quote) “My father went to stop a fight that the person was having with his ex girlfriend because he was hitting her and my dad went to stop it and tell him to get out of the establishment and that’s when he assaulted my father by hitting him on his face…. then when the officers were taking him out, he started hitting the officers as well so I guess that’s why the officers used the force.” (Unquote)

 

Arthurs confirmed with News Five today that international human rights agencies are reacting to the incident and have since been in contact with the Commission to assist in taking action. He questions how the department will address these kinds of incidents.

 

Voice of: Kevin Arthurs

“There are larger questions as to the mental health of the police force—some of the officers—issues of screening, training and supervisory mechanism of the police department.”

 

The incident, for San Pedranos as well as viewers, is similar to the brutality witnessed back in April of 2017 at the Central Park on the island, where two corporals attached to the Quick Response Team from San Pedro assaulted several persons when responding to a fight between two women. It ended with the officers firing up to fourteen shots, injuring at least five persons. And more recently, the dismissal of charges against eight lawmen—members of the Belize Special Assignment Group—who were charged for murdering forty-six-year-old Ariel Audinette in Orange Walk in February of 2018.  Acting ComPol Williams was asked about this trend and whether this case too will fall apart and the offending officers reinstated without consequence.

 

Chester Williams

“The persons concerned refused to go to court and testify against the officers; that we have no control over. We must understand that whenever we have complaints, if the complainant does not wish to pursue the matter or go to court and give the evidence, the court cannot convict without the testimony of the person who is affected by the conduct of the officer or individual.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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1 Response for “Caught on Video: San Pedro Cops Beat Down Civilians”

  1. G says:

    If the accounts that Playa Bar & Grill gave are accurate, then the use of force by the officers was justified to some degree especially if the individuals were drunk or on drugs. San Pedro, like many other cities in Belize, is no longer a safe town. Too many criminals running around doing whatever they feel like.

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