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Mar 5, 2019

Football Brawl Prompts Off-Duty Cop to Fire Shots

Things got chaotic on Monday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan. A football match was underway between Galen University and the University of Belize when a fight broke out between players from both teams. Seconds after, an-off duty police officer is caught on camera pulling out a firearm and blasting two shots in the air. His actions were intended to stop the brawl, but it was futile. It has instead gotten him and two other police officers in trouble and the Professional Standards Branch is said to be looking into the matter. The fight is being investigated by both universities. Hipolito Novelo reports.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Shots were fired by an off-duty police officer during an all-out brawl which broke out at an ATLIB football match at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan on Monday night. Cell phone footage of thirty-five seconds shows football players from the University of Belize and Galen University attacking each other. In the black uniforms are the UB Black Jaguars while the Football Galen Eagles wore the orange-red uniform.

Insults were hurled. Punches were thrown and even kicks were fired. It was a chaotic mess that even off-duty officers were not able to control.

This off-duty officer runs towards the sparring crowd. He pulls out a firearm. Meanwhile, from the bleachers, this other person also believed to be an off-duty officer is seen pulling out a firearm from the waist of another man believed to be an off duty officer. He too runs towards the crowd with the gun in the air. Meanwhile, the first officer points the firearm in the air and fires two shots. This, however; fails to quell the angry players.

Both universities have launched an internal investigation.

 

Clement Sankat

Prof. Dr. Clement Sankat, President, University of Belize

“The University of Belize together with Galen our sister university, together with the ATLIB sports authorities, this matter is under investigation. It will be very difficult for me to speak to it because at this time we are not fully aware of all that transpired there. What we know is that the gunfire was not from our students. They were not involved in that and neither the Galen students were involved in any use of guns Et cetera. We are clear about that.”

 

A joint release from both universities states that they will collaborate with each other and the ATLIB sports authorities in its investigation and disciplinary process.

 

Prof. Dr. Clement Sankat

“The investigation wills also possibly lead to any disciplinary procedures that we have in place if that becomes necessary. I want to assure and the public that neither of our universities condones any kind of violence in any of our activities. And if students have breached their codes of conduct, both universities will do what is necessary. I want to assure you having investigated this matter we will want to ensure that a repeat does not occur.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Is there the possibility that students can file a criminal complaint against each other seeing that there is assault in the video?”

 

Prof. Dr. Clement Sankat

“All citizens are entitled to that. You are not only a student of the University of Belize. You are a citizen of Belize. You can file your own complaint with the police. My hope is that it does not escalate to that. That our universities will find a way to investigate this and to dispense the kind of penalty that suits the kind of misdemeanor or the thing that happened out there. Let us not prejudge the issue.” 

 

The Football Federation of Belize says that it will monitor closely the outcome of both current University investigations. Based on the outcome of the investigations any player found at fault registered with the F.F.B. will be dealt with accordingly. Concerns have been raised by the actions of the off-duty cops. Those who have seen the video believe that the officers acted recklessly. We understand that the matter has been referred to the Professional Standards Branch. Hipolito Novelo, News Five.

 

The UB Black Jaguars defeated the Football Galen Eagles four to two.

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