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Jul 30, 2012

2 police officers charged for murder in P.G.

It was a violent weekend in the south and in the City that ended in the murder of three persons while two others were shot. In Punta Gorda tonight, police have arrested two of their own; who from all accounts went on a wild rampage on Sunday night.  Police Constables Modesto Cucul and Federico Tush are facing murder charges and are expected to be arraigned this Tuesday. Both are accused with the fatal beating of Michael Valerio with a baton.  The officers are also being charged for harming Noel George Lopez and Louis Braddick, a Justice of Peace. Both Cucul and Tush were reportedly in a drunken stupor when the violence started. Freelance Reporter Duane Moody was in Punta Gorda today and has the following report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The bloodstained stairs and a bed sponge are telltale signs of the brutal attack on forty-seven year old Michael Valerio and Noel George Lopez on Front Street in Punta Gorda Town.  Witnesses say Valerio was clobbered to death allegedly by two off-duty police officers. His body was found at the foot of the stairs. It is a case of an alleged police brutality turned murder.

 

Robert Mariano

Sr. Supt. Robert Mariano, O.C. Dangriga Police

“P.C. 636 Modesto Cucul and P.C. 1084 Federico Tush detained on investigation.”

 

Duane Moody

“I understand that two other persons were injured in this attack by these officers. Tell us about that.”

 

Sr. Supt. Robert Mariano

“Yes, we have both Mister Noel Lopez and Mister Louis Braddick who came forward also and made reports to me and statements recorded from them and the investigation is all in one. So like I mentioned earlier, I’ll do my best to conclude this investigation as early as tomorrow. They weren’t on duty at the time when this incident occurred.”

 

Officer in Charge of Dangriga Police, Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano has been brought in to do both a criminal and an internal investigation into the murder.

 

Sr. Supt. Robert Mariano

“I was directed by the Commissioner of Police to come to Punta Gorda Town and to conduct an investigation in relation to a police misconduct where one Michael Valerio had lost his life sometime last night.”

 

The incident occurred at the home of J.P. and Commissioner of the Supreme Court, Louis Braddick. Braddick was a third person to be assaulted in the process. He says the officers were visibly intoxicated; dressed in police pants and t-shirts, but were off duty.

 

Louis Braddick

Louis Braddick, Victim

“Around almost ten last night, I heard a noise in front of my door; well the noise woke me up because I was sleeping. And when I woke up, I heard this noise like people cursing and this one knocking that one. So then I open my door. When I opened my door, I saw two Indian men, police men. I know that they are police men because they usually come to me to sign summons and so because I am a Commissioner of the Supreme Court. Anyways, I spoke to them and I told them why are you beating that man there? Why are you doing that? They did not answer me and then they attacked me. They hit me on my elbow and I managed to escape and I ran downstairs. I ran downstairs and went directly to the police station. They were beating one man upstairs after they had already beaten one downstairs. I did not see what happened downstairs, but we have other witnesses who saw what happened downstairs. But all I know is that one guy they were beating upstairs and I stop that. And in stopping it, I got hurt. When I came back home, then I became aware that Mike Valerio who is known as “Streets” is dead—blood lying right in front of my door to go up to my room upstairs and he was lifeless. Then after that the police vehicle came and picked him up, put him in the vehicle and brought him to the morgue, to the hospital.”

 

Braddick says Valerio was not a trouble maker and did not deserve to die in the brutal way he did.

 

Louis Braddick

“This guy doesn’t give any trouble. He is a drunkard. And most of the time at that hour of the night, he is very drunk. And maybe when the police maybe approached him, he must have insulted them or something. But they didn’t have to go way to the police station and get one of those long sticks, batons, to come and beat him.”

 

Duane Moody

“Did you know Mike to be someone bad?”

 

Louis Braddick

“No. Maybe when he was younger, he was a little wicked; but for the last five-six years he was around me, he was never in trouble.”

 

For his injuries, Braddick says that he will press charges against the officers.

 

Louis Braddick

“I will press charges, I will.”

 

Duane Moody

You had to see medical attention for it?”

 

Louis Braddick

“That’s what I’m doing right now. I had to come here for my medication.”

 

While a motive behind the murder has not been ascertained, it is alleged that the incident was triggered by a case of mistaken identity. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

According to a police release, Valerio received cut wounds to the head, body and left side of the face.

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12 Responses for “2 police officers charged for murder in P.G.”

  1. Bear says:

    This a pretty terrible incident. The commander of the formation has to explain about these officers, I think. It’s unusual for two men suddenly to turn so bad in one night, there must have been problems, warning signs along the way.

    I don’t accept being drunk as an excuse for murder, and much less so for men who have been entrusted and paid to enforce the law.

    Sad to say, but if they are convicted, they must pay the full measure the law requires.

  2. Kinkriol says:

    A sober Indian man & a drunking Indian man the two totally different being

  3. Rod says:

    These are all things that will continually keep happening because their is no leadership in the country murder is something that is the hallmark of his udp gov. And pm nothing but corruption and mayhem in the country.

  4. nigel says:

    Let me guess they will get off by saying that Mr. Valerio beat himself to death and even though he is dead they will probably still charge him with two counts of wounding because his face injured their fists. It may sound preposterous and cynical but if you actually look back in the recent and distant past it is a fact that police murder people and get away with it all the time so why will this time be any different. It is a sad life we live in this country when we fear the police as much as the criminals and we the tax payers pay for our own fear. Makes you wonder if the criminals aren’t a shade better than the police because if you really think about it the criminals terrorize us for free.

  5. Buju Banton says:

    This is a sad situation indeed!

    But Rod we cant blame someone else for behavior of individual people! If i go and slap my girlfriend i cant say it the government’s fault!
    These police officers killed this man and they should face the music!

    We as a country have to move forward and stop playing this blame game!

    I expected Rod to say it is the fault of the, Officer Commanding or The Comissioner of Police or the Mayor or the Area Rep or The Minister

    But being the area rep and the mayor are pup it is unlikely he will do that!
    lol

  6. Elgin Martinez says:

    This is prove that the Country has no Leadership.Everyone seems to just be doing as they please.

  7. mexican says:

    NIGGA: A dead man carries no tale. let’s see what is the final say. Police not on duty managed to have a baton as the weapon used to commit this awful crime!!!!!, Damn, we need an internal investigation. I say CORRUPTION, CORRUPTION, CORRUPTION!!!!!!

  8. ree says:

    its sad and the truth is more people will suffer than we will ever imagine. all parties have families and loved ones. I feel sorry for them. My prayers!

  9. Guest says:

    How Sad is this Good Cop die in the line of duty, and Bad cops stay behind to murder those who they should protect. even the if the man was drunk he did not deserve to be beaten to death that is cruelty.

  10. Mick says:

    I would like to tell Rod, Please give it up! You sound so stoopid(sic) as everything has a political slant to you! I guess it is the government’s fault that you are so stupid!
    Secondly, this seems like a situation that has been brewing for a bit. I would even continue to say that these officers were taking out their frustrations on this poor man. Police officers have been fooled to believe that they can do what they want and will get away with it. There has to be an example made and they should get more serious pubnishment as they are supposed to uphold the law! As opposed to they being the law and there is a good many of them who feel that way! I would often hear them say that and am always apprehensive as rthis indicates to me that they will do what they want and there are no consequences. The culture in the police has to change and it has to start from within. The problem is that there seems to desire by the current police management to do so, or maybe they lack the intelligence/skills to do so.

  11. Al says:

    This is a tragic thing to have happen. I would like to encourage the police department at this time to consider a psychological evaluation of all polIce candidates. There has to be a better selection process. Police officers should not themselves be alcoholics and gamblers and dope users, the should have character. Raise the standards and recruit some mature men and stop bringing on these boys who have no brain capacity to evaluate a situation and acr appropriately. Time for a change. I know they were off duty, this is why a better selection process is needed in order to evaluate character.

  12. Al says:

    Mick, there is a point in what Rod is saying. If the leaders of the country had set some strong standards in place for how these people in a position of trust and government should act in the best interest of the people and the country things would be better. It is not the government fault that all these things are happening, people have to take responsibility for what they do. In any place where there are no standards and or consequences, there will be lawlessness, that is a fact. My problem is with the government is that they are standing silently by as crime contlinues to be a problem, while they are trying to grow more drug addicts. There is enough alcoholics in the country, enough drug zombies. The leaders need to step up to the place and make drastic changes to turn this country around.
    I am not sure they know how to change the course that Belize is on.

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