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Feb 12, 2013

Anna’s Lunch Box owner roughed up by cops

Fifty-seven year old Anna McKay, proprietor of Anna’s Lunch Box at Brown Sugar compound near Fort Street Tourism Village was allegedly roughed by a tourism police. But instead of offering her relief, she says she was handcuffed and escorted to the police station for charges. It all happened this morning in the hustle and bustle of a cruise day. McKay says that surveillance cameras captured the incident and she is heading to the courts. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Taxi drivers, peddlers and employees were carrying out their daily routine catering to tourists when a commotion outside the Brown Sugar Compound interrupted business. A woman by all accounts was manhandled by a uniformed officer attached to the Tourism Police Unit. According to businesswoman and owner of Anna’s Lunch Box, Anna McKay, she had just driven up-stop – as is customary given street works taking place in the area by CitCo – when she was approached and assaulted by the officer, identified only as Corporal Berry. She was then arrested. But in the process of being arrested, McKay was slammed at least once into this Ford Escape.

 

Patrick “Faada” Henry

Patrick “Faada” Henry, Eyewitness

“On a tourist day you would call that a prohibited up-stop, but you cannot say that on a day when the City Council has fifty streets renovating. So that was the only way for vehicle to exit in here to brown sugar—taxi and all of these vehicles. So we have to use our discretion. These officers who have been working out here as tourism police know that. They have been posted out here for years. They know that Miss Anna operate in Brown Sugar with her business.  She was approached by a rookie tourism police officer who is a female and a senior officer, named Mister Berry. I think the woman said some harsh words to Miss Anna who has the business and Miss Anna turned around and said well you know what arrest me. When she shouted arrest me, the guy said turn around. That’s when I saw her turn around and she was placed with a handcuff on her hand. It started to hurt her hand and I noticed the lady was trying to get the handcuff from her. She was screaming out that it was hurting her. That’s when the officer slammed her face first into the vehicle. Her face physically made huge contact to the mirror. And that’s when she looked like she was going to fall. So many guys who operate out here got up so angry because it was a female that was crushed into the vehicle.”

 

McKay, despite receiving injuries, was taken into custody. She was later released. But Melanie Gladden, who was present when the incident happened, took video of the incident on her phone. Gladden says that she was verbally abused for videoing the incident.

 

Melanie Gladden, Eyewitness

Melanie Gladden

“I see the police the harass wah young lady and thing and I take out my phone to video the incident and then one of the police come to me and cuss up me. He said put down the camera or else he was stone me about the place and point up his hand in my face and thing.”

 

Patrick “Faada” Henry, a taxi-operator, says that it was a blatant example of excessive use of force by officers and paints a negative picture to tourists visiting the jewel.

 

Patrick “Faada” Henry

“She was crushed to that vehicle side three times. She was picked up and slammed into the side of that vehicle. There were so much tourists out here watching. So I think it is now going to slow down tourists even more to see that even our police officers are getting violent in our country. It is ridiculous. I think that that lady needs to bring charges.”

 

And rightly so, McKay has since acquired the services of an attorney to bring charges against the department for the actions of the officer. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Mckay says she has had her restaurant in the tourism village for more than ten years. A number of other persons say they witnessed the incident.

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3 Responses for “Anna’s Lunch Box owner roughed up by cops”

  1. Seletar says:

    Even with new leadership in the police, I’m not sure we can count on thorough and fair investigation by them of abuses by police officers.

    I look around the world, and see that other places have independent civilian police commissions to do independent investigation and oversight of the police. If we can find a few honest civilians who won’t play politics with such a serious matter, I think we need the same thing here.

    I actually hoped our new Commissioner Whylie would do a credible job of policing the police, and maybe he will. But so far he has been pretty quiet on the issue, except for the manslaughter charges filed against the murdering cop in PG. Bad cops commit petty and not so petty violence against citizens throughout Belize everyday, and it must be stopped. It’s wrong, and it has the natural consequence of making even good citizens doubt and disrespect the police in general.

  2. NY says:

    This woman needs to sue these ignorant officers and the Police Department. They always say that power corrupts, and absolute power currupts absolutely…. It is a known fact that when one is not educated and is given power, he/she is most likely to abuse that power. My POINT is that most of the members of the BELIZE POLICE FORCE are ignorant, hence the reason police brutality is likely to occur.

  3. Krtdiaz says:

    It’s a shame and needs to be addressed by the GOB. It’s high time that Policemen be charged for abusing citizens and individuals.

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