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Mar 26, 1998

Residents accuse police officers of improper behavior

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As police continue their vigorous efforts to rid city streets of illegal firearms and ammunition, certain members of the force have come under fire for the way they are going about doing their job. In our newscast yesterday, we brought you the story of a young man, who is claiming he was the victim of improper police procedures. While one man’s story may be easy to dismiss as merely fiction, when two or three people come forward to relate similar experiences, a totally different picture becomes obvious.

Residents of the old Faber’s Road area of Belize City say they have had just about enough of the way some police officers have been discharging their duties.

Deborah Ramclam, Eyewitness

“You know, the way how they behave, like we di scream for help and you know for mek they stop go on bad in a di place. And who we could call to because they di police.”

The latest incident of alleged irregularities by police officers is said to have happened Tuesday afternoon. Deborah Ramclam says she was just about to leave for work when there was a commotion in her yard.

Deborah Ramclam

“When time I get downstairs, I hear a stampede. They come through the yard right, and when I come downstairs my back step, I see Broaster and a next police – short dark police, who they call “Tiger” bust through this little place, where my ma use to use as a shop and run through to the back in a di backyard. And so my daughter mi deh in the backyard di do some house work, you know. I run in a di bathroom and I tell ah get inside because the police di chase them boy through the yard and they have gun.”

The officers were apparently in hot pursuit of a number of base boys who call themselves the South Side Crew. According to one of the young men, who prefers not to be identified on camera, police were chasing them because it is believed that the group was involved in a shooting incident in the area on Monday night. The young man says the policemen were also trying to get information from them about the whereabouts of the weapon used in the shooting.

Eyewitness

“I di stand right up by the door. I see a yellow car come right round di lane and thing. Tint glass up and so, I tell my bwai whey mi deh inside of the house, like yow, this car ya look funny. Like this car just pull up, as it stop, man just pop out the door, cock gun and like run in, check. Broaster trip over a hammock and thing, check. When he trip over a hammock, like there so, he get up and say none of you move and thing.”

While most of the group obeyed the police orders, witnesses say two of them ran off. Ramclam says as she watched from her bathroom window, she could not believe what she saw.

Deborah Ramclam

“I peep outside and I see Trevor run, I see one boy Mala run, then I see Broaster and this short dark policeman Tiger stand up right. And I actually see Broaster tek out a gun, crank it up and aim, actually aim through our backyard towards where Trevor the run over a next neighbor yard and bust a shot.”

While Trevor Smith was not injured in the alleged incident, witnesses say when Broaster and the other officer caught up with him, the youth was physically assaulted.

Eyewitness

“They suppose to see he, they suppose to see he dat night di walk by a bicycle, so they say that he involve and thing. So they start to beat he up and tell he like, yow, I want a gun, a 357, that what I want, that di, di gun I want and I want it, so they just start to beat he and they just beat he for a period of time.”

Smith, according to witnesses, was not the only person to suffer at the hands of the police. This young man says he and another were forced into the trunk of a car and taken for a ride.

Eyewitness

“In the trunk, all we di hear a voice di grumble say unu dead punk, you know like that.”

Deborah Ramclam

“I see when they have Danny and Zeb handcuffed and “Tiger” tek them and dash them in the trunk and actually di push down di bonnet of the car and like I di holler, like for Zeb ma from cross the long barracks. Dey tell ah, Ms. Shelly they have your son and watch how they lock ah up in a this car.”

Catherine Stanford, was inside her grocery shop during the commotion.

Catherine Stanford, Eyewitness

“They come back and bust a shot in a mi yard. The next door lady over there tell you right? I tell them because this is my private yard, they no have no right to come and do things like that, because people live to the back and they could have hurt somebody.”

Arden Middleton

“Just check our record, get all of our names from this South Side Crew and check our record, we never yet have been convicted for no gang related crime, no robbery, no, no burglary, no drug trafficking, nothing like that.”

The members of the South Side Crew say they know they are no angels, and that the only thing they are prepared to shoulder responsibility for is smoking marijuana.

Arden Middleton

“We do it in a we house, no like we go pan the street go do it, and no like we no go round anybody or thief nobody, cause we no thief to buy weed and them thing deh. We no have to thief to buy weed for smoke.”

Catherine Stanford

“They know di, do their duty the proper way. That the what I would say. Because that is not the way to go. Say like go up to the person and say I want to know what you’ll all are doing here, what’s it’s all about. They just come boom, boom, boom and shot out.”

Deborah Ramclam

“You know I really need this thing to stop because like we as parents… You know what it is to watch your pikni lock up ina wah car trunk, plus di get beating? You know, if you di come to arrest somebody or di come fi ask question you could never approach people like that and expect fi get good response. And when I ask the bwai dem why dey run dey seh because Ms. Debs, dem beat we when time they ker we.”

When contacted this afternoon, Deputy Commissioner of Police Alvan Rowland told News Five that he has had reports of alleged wrong doing by Inspector Edward Broaster and that he has ordered an investigation into the allegations. Rowland says that Inspector Broaster as well as the other officers involved in the crack down on illegal firearms are fully cognizant of proper police procedures and that if they are found in contravention of these, will be forced to face the full brunt of the law. Rowland says anyone who have legitimate complaints against any police officer can make a report at the Raccoon Street Police Station.

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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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