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May 26, 2011

Gang Suppression Unit video and version of raid on home

The pre-dawn swoop on the premises of businessman Miguel Menjivar by the Police Department’s Gang Suppression Unit on May twentieth has been the subject of controversy in the aftermath of the shootout that ensued during the operation.  Although the incident occurred a week ago, varying accounts of what transpired that morning have been ventilated. On Wednesday, Mike and his wife Iliana gave vivid account of the raid that began after four in the morning and ended when they were escorted to the Belmopan Police Formation at about six o’clock. Because Menjivar phoned the media to relate his version of the incident from behind prison walls, the G.S.U. struck back today.  During their account of the raid, they said Mike fired the first shot.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Assistant Superintendent Marco Vidal, who heads the Gang Suppression Unit, today offered a visual depiction of the raid as captured by a fellow police officer who accompanied the team on the special assignment.  The footage provided is only a three minute clip of the twelve hour raid, which Vidal narrates continuously, of the G.S.U. entering the premises.

Marco Vidal

ASP Marco Vidal, Head of G.S.U.

“So this is Friday the twentieth at 5 a.m. in the morning.  The officers have already crossed over the fence, the perimeter fence and they are now on the premises.  If you can observe there are lights outside of the entrance, the door entrance.  You will also hear the dogs barking shortly as the officers approach the door.”

To allow for objectivity we decided to juxtapose both accounts of this story.  Here’s what Menjivar said during a phone call interview from prison on Wednesday.

Miguel ‘Mike’ Menjivar

Voice of: Miguel ‘Mike’ Menjivar, On Remand at Belize Central Prison (File: May 25th, 2011)

“When I wake up, my wife wake me up because she took the call then all I hear was that the main door of my house was getting knocked down—was getting kicked and knocked down. So I run and went to see what was happening.”

During the interview Menjivar stated that the officers who were breaching the main entrance to his home failed to identify themselves.  On the contrary it appears evident that the officer wielding the sledgehammer did actually identify that they were police, albeit not loudly.

Voice of: Miguel Menjivar

“I opened a window and I watch outside and all I see was a truck with no police letter—no kinda letters—it was a grey or a metallic color looking truck. Then we call to the station that please send help to our house cause we’re getting assaulted, or killers—we didn’t have an idea of what was happening.”

ASP Marco Vidal

“As you can observe all the officers are in uniform.  None of them are wearing masks, like what is being said.  Police open the door.”

What the crude video also establishes is that while the door was being battered an officer peered in to see who was inside the residence.  It also proves that Menjivar fired at the officers first.

ASP Marco Vidal

“At this point he is actually peeping through that opening created by the ram, by the mall and he is able to see a silhouette inside.”

Voice of: Miguel Menjivar

“Then I went to shoot through the door. When I heard that the door was almost dropping, I shoot like three shots through the door, then I run back to my room and try to see who or what was happening outside.”

ASP Marco Vidal

“Shots were fired then from inside of the building and that’s the reason why the officers ran for cover, as you can appreciate. There the officer said, “Stop firing it’s the police.”

Menjivar’s salvo of gunfire punctured the rear left tire of the vehicle the officers had arrived in.  Another burst of rounds was sprayed at them from different vantage points within the house before the G.S.U. returned what they term suppressing fire.

Voice of: Miguel Menjivar

“After this, I get shots all over my house, all around my house. I heard my kids crying in the room and I get desperate. I run back to my room to protect my wife and my other daughter. And they shoot all over my house—I don’t know how many shots; maybe over a hundred—through all my doors.”

ASP Marco Vidal

“Obviously the police officers were firing in response to being fired upon so that it is immaterial at the end of the day how much shots the police fired when in fact he was firing against the police officers.  And obviously he was not just firing to scare them off he was firing to actually hit the officers.”

Menjivar, his wife Iliana Chacon and their babysitter Rumelda Perez have since been held on Remand at the Belize Central Prison on nine counts of Attempted Murder as a result of the gunfire that came from the residence. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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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39 Responses for “Gang Suppression Unit video and version of raid on home”

  1. Vision says:

    So Mister Vidal,
    Why the hell would anyone want to shoot at you if he has nothing to hide huh?
    Stop trying to convince us that you did the right thing. You guys really messed up.
    Plain and simple, he had to protect his home and most importantly, his family.

  2. Belmopaners says:

    Its always good to have both sides of a story! Reality TV at its best. And now we know. Thank God for the GSU!!!

  3. justice says:

    Vidal, accept your incompetence. A video can be edited, what can’t be edited is the crude reality at Menjivar’s house. This was done unprofessionally and obviously under some sort of personal revenge for who knows what.
    First of all you JUMP the fence, not even i when i was there in bright day light saw any letters on the vehicles, specifying you were police, then you peep in. Dang, my 12 yr old could do smarter.
    Then you shout police, and police are on the phone with the wife saying it’s not them. You are just lucky none of your guys got hit by police.

  4. Belizean says:

    GSU I am behind you 100%. You guys are doing a great job. Keep it up.

  5. Garry says:

    The truth is revealing!!! I always knew that Police did not conduct the operation in the way that Menjiar claimed. Polilce 1 Menjivar 0, round two to come perhaps? Thats why they say 2 can play that game Menjivar should have just kept quiet instead of giving his so caled story to the media. Now look what has happened. Channel 5 has gotten to the bottom of the truth and viewers now know what really happened.

  6. BZNinCALI says:

    Mr. Vidal, I support the work your unit is doing & if you are telling the truth that your Officers were fired on after identifying themselves, then these people are where they should be. I do see a need for further training because no Officer of sound mind should have looked in that opening knowing that someone was armed on the other side.

  7. Rod says:

    All these people had to do was to walk up to the front door and present them with a search warrant why wasn’t this done instead of all this craziness all this dramatics could have caused the deaths of children come on use gnu head for once I don’t blame this

  8. Lindsay Howard says:

    This is as clear as mud. Menjivar fired first – but then, there were people trying to knock down his door with a battering ram. The police wore uniforms – could they be seen in the dark? And how hard is it to get ahold of a police uniform these days. The local police station didn’t know this was happening, and Menjivar said that he talked to the Belmopan police several times and they told him they were on the way to help. Hmmmm……..

  9. EMS says:

    After viewing the video presented by the GSU, several times, depicting what took place during the raid in Belmopan at the Menjivars’ home. It still remains very unclear as to who, what, when and how the action unfolded, in terms of who were shooting at whom, how many rounds were allegedly fired from inside the Menjivars’ home, it is not as evident as the GSU is trying to make it appear. When were the lights on or were they shot out by the GSU, how many dogs were killed, with so much unanswered, it is very unclear. Apparently the more Mr. Vidal speaks, it gets somewhat murky. In my humbly opinion it is not evident who fired first and how many shots were fired from the police, secondly there were no lights used by the police to distinguished who they really were. One simply yelling police does not established the facts that they are indeed the police, pragmatically speaking there should have been blazing lights identifying the police and their vehicles. Clearly it appears as if they did not even have flashlights, which is a very common light that police officers used when approaching potentially dangerous situations, such as a raid of this magnitude. Furthermore, they should have had a portable mic-speaker system to clearly announce who they were coupled with a valid search warrant. Very sadly so, Mr. Vidal did not impress me any, that the GSU are as well trained as he stated, and took appropriate actions. Despite of all of the above, I am strongly in favor of law enforcement and the GSU, however, it appears that something is seriously wrong with this picture/video.

  10. Justice says:

    Take sense from nonsense. If I feel as if i am being attacked, I would defend myself. Why do such a thing in the night especially with children in the house. Can you imagine the psychological impact it would have on them? They could have waited there and properly identified themselves at dawn, The GSU are just Barrow’s nazis. Poor innocent dogs were killed as well.They had a plan and just executed it. The dstatement issued below is bare crap.

    ASP Marco Vidal

    “Obviously the police officers were firing in response to being fired upon so that it is immaterial at the end of the day how much shots the police fired when in fact he was firing against the police officers. And obviously he was not just firing to scare them off he was firing to actually hit the officers.”

    So that gives the police to fire unlimited shots with children in the house? So he can actually know what are in people’s mind? Come on Vidal you will have your day!

  11. islander says:

    Sooo THREE MINUTES OF VIDEO?????

    Really? I can interview someone for twenty minutes and then edit the video to show what I want people to see….KINDA LIKE WHAT MICHAEL MOORE DOES WHEN HE INTERVIEWS PEOPLE HE DOES NOT LIKE OR SHARE HIS IDEAS.

  12. Vision says:

    Mr. Vidal,
    Do you think anybody would shoot at police for no reason, when they have nothing to hide? You guys don’t prove anything with that video, and i can assure you that you will loose in court. If that indeed was good evidence, you would use it in court, and not try to justify yourself before due date.

  13. Tired of this crap says:

    them only show the first part of the video, why them no show when the police started to attack after the shots were fired and how they finished off attacking. They hiding things i would say…but then again they should have had a warrant and check through all windows. this still didnt give them all right to kill all the dogs in his premisces. Bull crap. The BPD takes advantage of the law and they take advantage of every belizean. They would not raid a gangsters home like that, they dont have the balls to do so. I am sick and tired of all this crap

  14. Sasha says:

    In carrying out an operation like this one, the only people who need to know it the party involved.

  15. ESSB says:

    I fully support GSU although they may need a little more training in dealing with issues like these. I cannot believe how foreigners especially from Guatemala can come into our country and in no time get this rich. Look at the amount of businessmen and businesswomen out there who have their “cool spots” or “fast food restaurants” for years and they can’t have all these people have. It’s so unbelievable. The bible says “you reap exactly what you sow”.

  16. Heny says:

    just dont do anything illegal or suspicious in the forst place that way u won’t have to worry boutGSU or police. nuff said

  17. Earl Grey says:

    AFTER ALL IS SAID…….(there needs to be an INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION) ………..

    It will be found that THIS WHOLE SITUATION COULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED IN A MORE CIVILIZED MANNER.
    Mega-phones ANNOUNCING THE POLICE would be a start…… AND time of day????

    THE POLICE NEEDS TO RESPECT THE PEOPLE……and the PEOPLE WILL RESPECT and even ASSIST THE POLICE.

  18. Nectaly says:

    Lot of people are commending the GSU. But what did they accomplish? No drugs, no unlicensed firearms! So all he did was destroy the house. Was one gun the excuse to fire over 100 shots? I saw the video last night and it is not all that convincing! Remember he called the Bmp Police Dept. so he has proof that he didnt expect them to be police!

  19. Wrong Love says:

    Clearly there is terrible wrong doing on the part of the law enforcers. They should have ask Mike to come outside 1st before the bullyreg their way inside. We still dont know what they went there for that woild require big guns and lots of bullets. Our police officers takes pleasure in hurting, jailing and killing us. A man must protect his family and property at all cost. Many police officers are uneducated, irresponsible, intolerable and have NO reasoning, they will use the gun only for what they know it can do….KILL.
    On another note:
    Mr Vidal’s wife is the DPP. This is a conflict of interest, our faith can be decided in their bedroom before it materialized. How much justice can we get if members of law enforcers are literally IN BED? It’s a sign of corruption and collusion, the belizean people is forced to live with it.

  20. Storm says:

    The suspect’s own words do not support reasonable self-defence. He says he fired 3 shots, THEN ran to find out what was happening.

    Since he seems to have lied about the police wearing masks and not identifying themselves, and admits he fired before he had any reason to believe he was being attacked illegally by anyone, I conclude he is in the wrong.

    I’d charge him with attempted murder of a police officer, based on his own admissions.

    We normally need to assume the police are trying to do right and enforce the law, not assume the worst. sometimes the facts play out badly for the police, but it doesn’t seem so here.

  21. Fed Up says:

    how can you people side with these cops?? what if they entered your home with your children and family in the middle of night shooting??? come on there was no reason they could not of handled this in the early daylight hours without the kind of force used. You people who condone the actions of GSU are idiots!! children, a baby was in the home.. Mike is always around that bar just go after him while he is sitting there in broad daylight with a warrant and you could get what you need.. jeez the mentality of force against force is just insane!

    yes unbelievable that someone can make money honestly… dont go into crap about people coming into Belize and getting rich.. there are far more Belizeans in the U.S making great money then any foreigned going into Belize making money.. money is only lost by foreigned in Belize!

  22. Fairman says:

    I have just read Marco Vidal’s comments in the Amandala Newspaper. I did not know that Marco Vidal is so stupid. Who is going to believe that Menjivar shot his two dogs from inside? If he did, that means he was not shooting at his unknown invaders but protecting them from the dogs. It is very clear that Vidal is telling lies to cover his criminal actions. Is this the kind of stupidity and criminality we want at the leadership level?
    All intelligent people know that the recording was edited and is nothing but garbage. The origin or nationality of the victim is not in question here. The question is whether the GSU were right or wrong. In this and many other cases, they have been not just wrong but criminal.
    There is no point in reporting it to the Internal Affairs of the police department because the Internal Affairs only target those policemen who don’t have a connection in Belmopan. The only solution is to start to apply our own justice.

  23. Dan Armeneau says:

    Sasha…, don’t you for a second think it might be prudent to inform the local constabulary you’re about to engage in an armed raid especially seeing as they were operating outside of their jurisdiction? I can just imagine how shot up the neighbourhood would have been if the local constables would have arrived on the scene shooting from the hip and hoping for a hit. Scary thought!

    ESSB…, I’ld have to agree with you that the GSU could use a little more training but I’m of the opinion that it should start with some basic training and while they’re at they may as well ask the USA for some additional gear like maybe some flashlights, a loud hailer or two, some red and blue Christmas lights for the trucks and maybe a couple of coupons for 50% off on an introductory course in “Basic Armed Stand-Off Negotiation Skills”.

    I’ld also agree that “you reap exactly what you sow” and suppose that’s the very reason the Good Lord spared this family from any loss of life other than the family pets.

    As for these GSU thugs. I’m not so sure they have the organizational skills to put together a royal pi$$up victory party after a successful night raid on the Cuello Brothers Distillery celebrating the good news that none of them were casualties of “friendly fire”. Gimme a break!

    In other news it appears these GSU thugs don’t seem to making much of a dent with the crime rate in the big city! It looks to be they’re nothing more than common thugs on the Government payroll. How is it possible they can call themselves law enforcement officers when they operate above the law? That’s something Belizeans really need to be asking the lawmakers they elected!

    Many here have said that Mr. Mike was paying off the authorities. Should that be true I think I would be asking for my money back!

  24. RadicalBelizean says:

    BZNinCALI well said. We are not the ones on the streets tackling these problems. Easy to comment and criticise from the comfort of our armchairs and the opposition ponce on it for their political gain. GSU will blunder and hopefully learn from it, across the world these things happen because when adrenaline is added to the equation then ……..happens.

  25. Roy Yates says:

    Whether the occupant of the house knew that it was police that was breaking down their door, the million dollara question that must be settled is, can it be proven that the wife called the belmopan Police while this was going on telling them that someone was breaking into their house? If that is establish as factual, then its should be difficult for GSU to convince anyone that these folks knew that they were Police that was breaking their door.

    Further, if Mingavirs says that he was the person that fire the shots, why is the maid and the wife been charged jointly? Especially the maid. To top of the gross stupidity,these officers knew that their were innocent children in the house before they unleached the barrage of bullets on the house, why did theynot back off and attempt a peaceful surrender of the suspect? Its show clearly that these men are badly trained. This nonsense comment that if his men wanted to shoot them they were trained to hit their target is a clear give away of incompitent. Do they get negotiation skills in their training, or only to kill?

    Next, and this is really a clear break down in proper law enforcement. What happen to the Police in Belmopan when they were called, if they were called? Gun in the hand of egotistical jerks be they law enforcement or not, is very dangerous. Bad political leaders together with bad policing has the perfect ingredience for what we see is taking place in the country. Unfortunately it will get worst.

  26. chubby says:

    GSU A+++ they identified themselves as Police, police have all rights to breach d door if they had a search warrant, suppose those people were destroying evidence, they should just have broken down the door and surprised them all, do it like SWAT in the USA use a loud speaker next time

  27. Robert says:

    yeah you guys are absolutely right. The GSU are just here to corupt the country more & also d people minds. So far i saw most of them dont have respect to other people from other culture. For example like this police intake only the black people got in. Worst ting about it is when they get that job all they will do is sleep & they are they lazy people on this earth. just like some of the lazy GSU.

  28. bmpresident says:

    Good Job again Mr Vidal
    Mr Vidal please come back soon to belmopan, we have lot more drug dealers we need you to put in jail.
    There is reasons why the belmopan police didn’t know Mr Vidal was coming, had Pakistan known the navy seals were coming for osama he would not have been there when the seals attacked.
    Same thing here, had belmopan police known Mr Vidal was coming Mike would not have been there.

  29. watcher says:

    Mike haven’t you realized what is happening here, GSU came for you because they got a tip, a tip from who? Could it be franxel? maybe Iliana and franxel didn’t want you to be around when franxel and her baby is born.

  30. watcher says:

    Ladies have their way of saying, Oh he is Black because my great grandfather’s mother was black, but i dont think mike will fall for that when he see his wife have a black baby, frank frank, youu betta run

  31. Waitingjustice says:

    Unbelievable,all that horror that family went through and still,no one to have mercy on them,having them locked up just because it happens that vidal and his wife still deciding what to do?Belize we need to take immediate acction to these type of situations our country go through,no more suffering to our people and children for God sake,coming from people that suppose to take care of us,who are we going to ask for help now?have you all ever sit and wonder

  32. Jungle Guy says:

    Why they didn’t show the piece where they broke his jaw after he was already apprehended. why would he want to kill a police officer clearly there was nothing he was hiding cause they spent whole day an didn’t find any thing or the finding was too good they didn’t turn in anything to better off there lives

  33. danger says:

    The Police in Bmp was not aware of the raid due to some of them being in the pockets of Menjivar. So i commend the GSU for the raid and the balls they had going after him. Time and time again the some Police officers takes bribe due to the small change they receiving for there wage. I notice when any unit goes for a raid they make sure the home is surrounded first then some oficers goes to the front of the home and identify theirselves. Mr Vidal said the officers shoot the dogs because they were attacking the officers, so please dont go saying differently. This is what Belize needs then people will start walking the straight and narrow path then we will all be safer in this beautiful jewel of ours. start taking drastic measures then the gangs and everyone will take notice. Do you all want a child, mom,dad,son daughter,etc died for stupid stuff. come on people wake up. Mr Menjivar could have ben shooting just to give him time to flush his drugs. C where he was found in the BATHROOM. case closed.

  34. ANDY says:

    U know what! first of all things weren’t down professionally, if someone is busting into my home late at night , while i’m sleeping of course i would shoot especially nowadays you neva know….

    they should have surround d site then say who they are not just bust into people house man……did they fine what they were looking for ?
    video can do all kinds of thins , and like others would say u can do wonders……..u only see pieces of clips i study for that and u can see it wasn’t film good…..sorry but im no taking part for the other guy but people want to know the motive ,did they fine anything ,,,,,mmmmmhhhhh

  35. Belizean Girl says:

    Again people, the police didn’t find anything but that doesn’t prove or disprove that this family does not deal with drugs. Drugs and ammunition move in an out of dealers hands very fast, most people who deal with drugs know how to get rid of it and hide it from officers, and so each second that goes by in an operation like this is crucial, and so they have to act quickly.

    If you are not a police officer and you have never volunteered to assist your police as a Citizen on Patrol (COP) or Special Constable (SC) then you cannot criticize without having knowledge of all the challenges in this career. I challenge you to learn about services and get involved, go volunteer for your country, lets see how many would be as courageous as the GSU. Remember, the police officers do their duty with passion and especially the GSU, because they want to make a difference in this country. Instead of criticizing, why don’t you volunteer to train in what you feel is lacking in the unit. If any of you feel you have more wisdom in the matter, donate your time and stop donating your negativity. Being negative and arrogant helps no one in this country, be constructive and productive next time.

  36. Observer says:

    How stupid r those who coment without knowing,first of all why not do a background check on the menjivars?as far as I remember they started with a very small business around 12 years ago. And we have seen the la cabana grow slowly with hard working people as the menjivars.of course you feel envy when you see a business gets successful but do we realize how hard this family work?and no they are not from Guatemala ,they belizean people,so wath if they live better than some of us?that’s you get when you dedicate your life to a business , I personally know people that just open a business and they put it in somebody else hands because the nigth jobs are not nice .anyways I’m not to personal friends with the menjivars but wenever I come to this place maybe for lunch or whatever, I notice this people always in the business eighter menjivar or his wife, so that makes me realize they work hard for what they have, and I know drug dealers don’t work they just make fond calls and it’s poor people doing the dirty jobs, so for those who just critizise without knowing , find a job or something , god wouldn’t have spare this peoples lives if they were bad people . After all that shooting does gsu idiots shot how else do you explain not one of the menjivars got shot?

  37. Bmp resident says:

    belizean girl and bmp resident,educate yourselves i wish with all my heart that you dont be the following bmpresident.and your welcome surely will not be appreciated by those G.S.U criminals ,but seems that you people dont learn,they want to feel in flesh what happen to other innocents so they can have some mercy for others.anyways.I feel for you Mr Mike and family.God bless all who mean harm for you.Be strong and remember you are people of good minds and God with all his love and mercy saved you,from that rain of bullets.i agree with all the people who say if you were bad God wouldnt save you all.

  38. unknown well known says:

    you people hear both side of the story,,the heater tah are againtes this man is because they wish to be who he is in business way and about the war that was done by this unprofessional cowards if you want to understand just imagine yourself wak up at 4;00 am and hear your house door is getting knock down and u only have 5 seconds to be death or fight to be alive…..what would you do?

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