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Jul 31, 2012

2 cops arraigned for P.G. Murder

A crowd gathered this morning at the Punta Gorda court for the arraignment of two police officers.  But it was until this afternoon that the duo faced the music; they were read charges for the murder of Michael Valerio. Police constables Modesto Cucul and Federico Tush were reportedly intoxicated on Sunday when they inflicted a brutal beating on Valerio with a baton causing injuries to his head, body and left side of the face. Two others, Noel George Lopez and Louis Braddick, a Justice of the Supreme Court were also injured; Cucul and Tush were charged with causing them harm. The incident unfolded allegedly over a bicycle which the cops accused Valerio of having. Valerio’s blood was spattered on the stairs of Central Club, owned by Braddick, from whom he rented a room. The murder has stunned the community. Freelance reporter Duane Moody reports. 

 

Duane Moody

Modesto Cucul

We’re here in Punta Gorda Town where two police officers were arraigned for the brutal murder of forty-seven year old Michael Valerio. We were told by Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano that the men were to be taken to the Court at nine-thirty this morning. But it wasn’t until four hours later that the men were escorted to the Magistrate’s Court. The alleged actions of PCs Modesto Cucul and Federico Tush have tainted the department and triggered an internal and a criminal investigation into the matter because it is alleged that they took a baton and beat Valerio to death sometime around ten on Sunday night.

 

Fitzroy Yearwood

Insp. Fitzroy Yearwood, Police Press Officer

“A commissioner of the Supreme Court informed the police that there was one Michael Valerio who was seen suffering from cut wounds to head, body and left side of the face. This person was transported by police to the Punta Gorda Hospital where around twelve a.m. on today’s date, this person succumbed to his injuries. Police have since detained the two off duty officers and it is being alleged that they were under the influence of alcohol.”

 

The men, early this morning, were sneaked through the back of the court to the police station to avoid the cameras; they were not handcuffed nor were they placed in holding cells as other accused. The residents demonstrated their discontent including Valerio’s nephew, Paul Valerio.

 

Paul Valerio

Paul Valerio, Nephew of Deceased

“We are upset, the people is upset and Punta Gorda is upset with the leadership and the police that are in Punta Gorda for what they have done to my brother. The two criminals were escorted from the prison of Punta Gorda without handcuffs and they committed the crime of murder.”

 

Federico Tush

Anthony Fuentes, Mayor, Punta Gorda Town

“If it was poor Joe, they would have bangled him a long time; but because it is police officers, it is a payer. The way how I see I, they are protecting their fellow colleagues and this is wrong. We should condemn things like those. If it was any ordinary person, they would have paraded that person up and down to the court house in Punta Gorda town. But because it is one of them; that’s why it appears to me that they are protecting these individuals. No, they committed a crime so let them face the law of this country.”

 

Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of National Security, Raphael Martinez, says that the ministry expects high standards from law enforcement officers and that there was no justifiable use of force.

 

Raphael Martinez

Raphael Martinez, P.R., Ministry of National Security

“From the Ministry of National Security’s stand point, we have always expected high standards from our police officers no matter who you are or where you work. We have investigated ourselves over and over again regaining whatever breach of discipline. The entire mandate of the department is to use minimum force. I mean we cannot allow our officers going around beating our people senselessly. We need a justifiable use of force whenever we operate in that condition. As Fitzroy mentioned, this will be investigated both internally and criminally. We do have our Professional Standards Branch hard at work looking at this situation. They are formerly known, by the way, as the Internal Affairs division.”

 

The Punta Gorda Town Council echoed the sentiments of the police saying that: “The unacceptable behavior of these police officers will not be tolerated in this peaceful municipality.”

 

Anthony Fuentes

Anthony Fuentes

“As members of the Belize Police Department, I believe that these officers must have received training from the Belmopan Training Institute and so it is unbecoming of officers to be brutally hurting individuals in this municipality. And I will condemn it, condemn it and condemn it to the highest degree. We will not tolerate things like that; the officers should be protecting our fellow citizens in this municipality. And when they are the perpetrators of crime and violence on our fellow human beings, I will always denounce such activity and unprofessionalism on behalf of these two individuals that end up murdering our fellow brother from Punta Gorda town.”

 

Thirty-four year old Noel George Lopez and Supreme Court Commissioner Louis Braddick were also assaulted in the incident. Duane Moody for News Five.

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14 Responses for “2 cops arraigned for P.G. Murder”

  1. Storm says:

    GOB and police bungling and cover-up can only make a bad situation worse. Murderers need to hang, and it’s no defense that they carried badges. That only makes it a lot worse.

    Bravo for Commissioner Braddick for having the integrity and courage to report the truth.

    Let’s watch and see if DPP can carry the day on this important case.

  2. Rod says:

    Sorry fu unu two unu no black so unu Wa get it

  3. Belizean says:

    I hope the Professional Standards Branch will bring these guys to justice, in an un-biased way

  4. Elgin Martinez says:

    Mr Anthony Fuentes i suggest tha you and the people of PG hold a vigil at the Punta Gorda Police Station.

  5. bmp chic says:

    rod ur an @$$

  6. racist says:

    rod u musi black?? so what u the try say?? because unu black unuh could get away?? hmmm. well that is a lesson dont mess with INDIAN PEOPLE. u think wen indian see a BIG BLACK GUY THEY ARE AFRAID NOPE!!!! LIKE THEY SAY INDIAN BLOOD IS LIKE ROOSTER BLOOD.

    FYI!!!!

  7. Killa says:

    It was an unfortunate incident, but it has already taken place. It was a senseless act on behalf of these officers. Just got me thinking who we are to trust or look up to when we seek protection. I do totally agree that Police Dept in PG need a thorough internal investigation. Hon Min of National Security, why we not go ahead with the transfers so we can eliminate much of this corruption.

  8. blackberry says:

    Typical Indian, weather Belizean or American Indian. Cannot control themselves when drinking firewater .

  9. Seletar says:

    Some of the press is reporting that these officers made racial comments, that PG is for Indians, not black people. If true, it’s terrible to have police with racist attitudes of any kind. Belize is a melting pot, and we are all God’s children, no one race is better or worse than the other.

    I’d love to see some kind of study about how many racist police are in PG police formation, or anywhere else. I suspect racism may be a bigger problem in the Maya towns than the rest of the country, but it’s wrong everywhere.

    Also, it’s reported that these “officers” began the beating, then went to the police station to get a baton to do a more savage job, then came back and finished murdering the poor man. That’s as evil intent as there can be. Try them fast, hang them faster.

  10. Killa says:

    all these racist stuff wil not put us anywhere. Like what seletar said, wwe are all one in the eyes of the Almighty. I really don’t see why those officers were treated as any other criminal. What is the Force telling me, that these officers were not subjected to be cuffed although they were in the wrong? Come on, my Belizean people. Wake up!!!! We a go protest if charges will be lessened for these guys, for we wouldnt want anymore policemen to die as well

  11. PG Man says:

    Both persons are Maya like myself. No one is above the law, they did the crime, let them serve the time. Justice must prevail. they are there to protect and serve the citizens not to harass and kill them. they should have been handcuffed on both hand and feet.

  12. Maya Man says:

    My maya brothers must face the music. It is not about black or indian, it is about a life lost. they did the crime, they must serve the time. no one is above the law. all police offocers including the minister must respect the citizens of this country. they should have been handcuffed on hands and feet.

  13. now i see says:

    Why every one is saying indians? They are ketchi.

  14. Maya Youth says:

    Tnx 4 d corrections PG Maya Man. dat is wat people dont understand here that we are mayas. not indians. don’t let the simplicity of christopher columbus fool u. these officers commited murder so they must be brought to justice weder brown, black, white, red skin. nobody is above d law. Murderers are to be hanged.!!!

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