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Aug 15, 2019

Commissioner Williams: “It doesn’t matter, it was rubber bullet. It was nonlethal.”

In May, Belize City resident Vince Martinez visited our office to share his case of police brutality.  Martinez claimed that on May twelfth while at his house on Far West Street, he was shot in the groin with a rubber bullet by a police officer; officers were responding to a call of domestic abuse at Martinez’s residence. Things got heated and the officer pulled out his firearm and shot him. The shot caused an injury which doctors at the K.H.M.H. classified as wounding. Fast forward to July when Allyson Major Junior was fatally shot by Corporal Kent Martinez during a pursuit, Martinez later claimed that it was the corporal who had also shot him. However, the police department is refuting Martinez’s claims, saying that it was not the corporal who shot him. On Tuesday, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams was asked about it.

 

Reporter

“The police never did provide any details as to which officer they were talking about and what investigation was conducted into that matter to determine, I think you made a call that the officer wasn’t culpable because they needed to get this man under order.”

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“Well it goes to show that the media always tend to run with every story they get. Sometimes they get themselves in trouble because one you all aired a story that corporal Martinez was involved in a previous shooting with that individual which is not so. There was indeed some incident but it was not Corporal Martinez who was involved in that matter, one. Two, if a man is engage in domestic violence, abusing a woman and the police respond and he continues to behave boisterous the police have the authority to use force that is necessary to contain the person. The complaint that was made is still being looked into by Professional Standards Branch but so far we have not arrive at that stage where they believe that the officer used excessive force. If at the end of the investigation that is the case then it will be looked at further. We must understand and I am going to sound it loud and clear that if you behave in a manner that threatens the officer and threatens the life of your spouse especially where women and children are concern, or threaten the public, the police cannot just stand idle by and allow you to continue to behave in such a way. We are going to use force that is reasonably necessary in the circumstances to continue.”

 

Reporter

“But the area where this individual was shot at close range is that justified? I mean you can shoot at his foot, limbs.”

 

Chester Williams

“It was not live rounds. He was shot with rubber bullets. No, it was not live rounds, it was rubber bullets.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“But there was a hole.”

 

Chester Williams

“It doesn’t matter, it was rubber bullet. It was nonlethal.”


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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