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Jul 13, 2020

Guinea Grass Resident Shot in the Chest by Police Officer

Guinea Grass resident, Minor Betancourt was hit on the chest by a volley of rubber bullets on Saturday night. Betancourt was among a group of persons hanging out at La Cabana’s Cool Spot when a fight broke out. When police arrived to cool down the tensions, Betancourt was shot as he attempted to free his cousin from police hands. But police say they were aggressed by the mob and fired warning shots, which hit Betancourt. He spoke to News Five’s Hipolito Novelo about the incident.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

At around ten o’clock on Saturday night Guinea Grass village resident Minor Betancourt was shot in the chest with rubber bullets by a police officer.


Minor Betancourt

Minor Betancourt, Shot by Police

“He told me oh it is you. He told me that he will shot me one of these days. I told the man to shot me one time; he already got me face to face. Let him shoot me. They were going and in the moment that they were going, he shot me and left me down there. I don’t know the reason why he shot me.”


Betancourt was shot with a twelve-gauge shotgun loaded with rubber bullets. The officers then fled the scene, leaving Betancourt on the ground, bleeding.

Betancourt was at La Cabana’s Cool Spot when a group of police officers arrived. They were responding to call of a fight at the establishment. Commanding Officer of the Professional Standards Branch Superintendent Dwayne Sutherland says that officers entered the establishment and arrested a man for the offense of Disorderly Conduct and Failure to Wear a Mask. That man was Betancourt’s cousin.


Minor Betancourt

“The moment we came down from Cabana Cool Spot I see the police man was taking my cousin without mask. I said why you taking him without mask. The next police man said this is Minor Betancourt. The boss man told me oh this is Minor Betancourt. He told me that he wants to know me.”


Hipolito Novelo

“So when you approached the officers you were asking them to release your cousin?”


Minor Betancourt

“Yes, let them release my cousins.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Were you being aggressive?”


Minor Betancourt

“No, I wasn’t being aggressive.”


But according to Sutherland, the officers were met with aggression by an agitated crowd. The advancing crowd caused one of the officers to first fire a warning shot lodging rubber bullets in Betancourt’s chest. The crowd was relentless and so, the officers retreated with the detainee.


Dwayne Sutherland

Supt. Dwayne Sutherland, O.C., Professional Standards Branch

“Upon the detention of this male persons a crowd of persons who were at the establishment then advanced to the police officers in an aggressive manner. The police then fired a warning shot but that warning shot then caused the crowd to be more agitated. As result the crowd continued to advance towards the police officer in a more aggressive manner. The police then fired a non lethal round from a twelve gauge shotgun that caught this gentlemen in the chest.”


Hipolito Novelo

“How far were you from the police officer when you were shot?”


Minor Betancourt

“We were face to face.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Were you guys drinking? Was there any kind of argument between you and the officer?”


Minor Betancourt

“No I didn’t have any argument on that day. I was drinking that day but I wasn’t drunk that day.”


Supt. Dwayne Sutherland

“The police fled along with the person that was detained from the area to prevent further confrontation, to prevent further force from being utilized and also to prevent the officers from being injured.”


The detainee was reportedly released without any charge. Betancourt says he will file a report against the officer who shot him.


Minor Betancourt

“I will make my report. I don’t know why they shot me.”
Supt. Dwayne Sutherland

“Until this person comes forward and give us information then we can continue the investigation further. If it is that the investigation reveals something different from what we have obtained so far then we will deal with the matter as we progress with the information.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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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