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Jan 8, 2019

PCs Tyrell Rowley & Samir Medina to be Criminally Charged

Tyrell Rowley & Samir Medina

On Monday, the Police Department said that two cops who brutalized two brothers from San Pedro and caught on widely circulated videos, will not face criminal charges. Less than twenty-four hours later, however, incoming ComPol, Chester Williams, announced a change. Police Constables Tyrell Rowley and Samir Medina will be taken to court now that the victims Jamir and Justin Leal, have agreed to cooperate with the investigation. The siblings were in Belmopan today when Williams made the announcement. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Police Constables Tyrell Rowley and Samir Medina have been placed on interdiction and will face criminal charges for the beat down on two of three siblings on New Year’s Day in San Pedro. That’s the new directive from Acting Commissioner of Police Chester Williams after he personally reached out to the Leal family to find out why they were refusing to provide statements to the Professional Standards Branch on what transpired on the night of January first at Playa Bar and Grill.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Acting ComPol

“The professional standard branch had made several attempts to seek the cooperation of the two victims, but that cooperation was not forthcoming and so we decided to proceed disciplinarily with the two police officers. As I’ve also said before, the conduct depict by the video footage is one that we cannot countenance as a police department especially if we want to build public trust and confidence. Whatever we do will be done in such a way that it affords the public to be able to look at us in a different light and to see that we are serious about addressing misconduct of our officers. And so with that in mind, I personally reached out to the mother of the three gentlemen yesterday and I explained to them our position and asked if she would be willing to come to Belmopan to see me so that I could speak with her and her three sons to seek their cooperation in this matter. The mother was more than willing and agreed to come to Belmopan.”

 

Arrangements were made and the family arrived in Belmopan this morning. After receiving assurances from Williams that there will be no retribution from the officers should they cooperate with the investigation, the Leal siblings provided detailed statements to the police and with sufficient evidence, personnel from the Crimes Investigation Branch in Belize City will move to charge two of their own.

 

Chester Williams

“We have sufficient evidence now and we now have the two complainants and we will now proceed criminally against the two mentioned police officers.”

 

Duane Moody

“The charges that will be imposed on these officers for the brutality?”

 

Chester Williams

“I think that the charge will be for wounding and harm.”

 

Duane Moody

“Any timeline as to when they will be brought in, arrested, arraigned?”

 

Chester Williams

“Well the statements were just completed and so I will now forward it to Crime Investigation Branch in Belize City because I will have them deal with the criminal aspect of it and the Professional Standard Branch will continue dealing with the internal aspect of it.”

 

Twenty-year-old Jamir Leal was the main victim of the brutality at the hands of the police constables who were attached to the San Pedro Police Formation. As was seen in the chilling images on video, he was whacked several times with a baton as he lay unconscious on the ground, before he was power-kicked to the head by Rowley. In the immediate aftermath of the ordeal, he and his siblings were fearful and as a result did not want to cooperate with the investigators. Leal spoke about the change of heart.

 

Jamir Leal

Jamir Leal, Victim of Police Brutality

“First I mi di worry about fi we safety, right; knowing that they still woulda deh out there and they only wah get one week suspension. We mi di worry about we safety, but like how Mister Williams explain everything to we that dehn noh wah do we nothing. So we decided to press charges against the officers weh injured me and we can’t left it like that. So we decided to cooperate with the investigation. They just like abuse of power right. Just because they got uniform, that noh means they could do anything; do whatever they want to anybody. We dah humans, we got rights and we noh deserve to be treated like that.”

 

Acting ComPol Williams says that misconduct by police officers will not be tolerated.

 

Chester Williams

“I think the video speaks for itself. When I looked at the video; personally I ketch cold seed. It is disgusting and we cannot countenance behaviours like that. I think that as an organization we should do our best to ensure that the right thing is done and so I decided to take that additional effort. I want to assure the public that whenever we have police officers who behave in such a way, it does not serve us any well to cover those misconducts. It does us more harm than good and so we moving forward will be very swift to address any police misconduct. And I also want to assure the three gentlemen and any other person who may have been aggrieved by police officers that once it is that you decide to work with us to address the misconduct of our officers, we will do our best to ensure that no police officer targets you as a result of your cooperation.”

 

Williams says that it is expected that PCs Rowley and Medina will be arraigned by Friday for the crime. Duane Moody for News Five.


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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