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Aug 30, 2000

Officers disciplined pending brutality investigation

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In an effort to counter the growing negative publicity surrounding the beating of two star football players by police, Commissioner Hughington Williams has taken disciplinary action against four officers. Inspector James Magdaleno and Assistant Inspector Eli Salazar, officer and deputy in charge of the Orange Walk District, have been relieved of their duties and two unnamed police constables have been placed on interdiction pending the outcome of an investigation. The action follows an incident early Sunday morning outside of the Mi Amor Lounge in Orange Walk. Well known semi-pro football players Charlie Slusher and Norman “Tilliman” Nunez claim that around three-thirty a.m. they were assaulted by police for no reason, arrested and then beaten again repeatedly on the way to the station and after they were placed in a cell. The pair, sporting freshly inflicted wounds, told News Five that they left the bar to see what was happening with some friends outside, when the police unleashed their flurry of abuse. After interviewing several independent witnesses, police investigators decided that there was enough evidence of police brutality to warrant the preliminary discipline. While the commissioner may be convinced, an unrepentant Eli Salazar today told News Five that he welcomed an investigation and claims that he will be found to be totally blameless. Salazar, who is on medical leave as the result of injuries suffered that night, said that it was Slusher who initiated the violence and he only acted in self-defence and to help his fellow officers. Reacting to accusations that he was stinking drunk, Salazar insisted that although he was off duty and had been dancing in the bar, he did not drink even one alcoholic beverage. “Charlie’s behaviour surprised me,” said Salazar. “I thought he was my friend and I tried to calm him down. Then he suddenly just hit me.” Meanwhile, in a move unrelated to the police investigations, Attorney Kirk Anderson announced that he will file a civil suit on behalf of his clients against five police officers involved in the incident. In addition to Salazar, those to be named in the suit are P.C. number 547 Pascual, P.C. number 325 Briceno, P.C. number 677 Coc and P.C. number 77 Carillo. Anderson says that the civil action will seek damages for assault, battery and false imprisonment.

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