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Jul 16, 2021

Police Corporal Charged; Laddie’s Guardian Thinks Manslaughter Insufficient

Kareem Martinez

As Thomas Palacio and the friends and family of Laddie Gillett try to come to terms with his death, today the officer allegedly involved in the shooting was arraigned in Belmopan Magistrate Court. Police Corporal Kareem Martinez was charged with manslaughter.  The media gathered outside the courthouse to try and catch a glimpse of Martinez after he was granted bail and escorted out. New Five’s Paul Lopez went live on Facebook and files this report tonight. 


Paul Lopez, Reporting

This is the scene outside the Belmopan Magistrate Court moments after Corporal Martinez was granted bail and exited the court room. A male individual who accompanied Martinez attempted to prevent our cameraman, Kenroy Michael, from capturing Martinez’s image.


Voice of: Kenroy Michael, News 5 Cameraman

“Give me ah lee break deh big man, give me a lee break deh, give meh a lee break, bway give me ah lee break…”


Hurl Hamilton, Attorney for Kareem Martinez

Hurl Hamilton

“This morning, Mr. Martinez was arraigned for one single count of Manslaughter.”


Paul Lopez

“And what was the outcome of today’s arraignment?”


Hurl Hamilton

“He was offered bail in the sum of eight thousand dollars, or two sureties in the sum of four thousand dollars. He is to report to the Dangriga police station on the eighteenth of October, that is the next court date.”


Paul Lopez

“Speak to the justification of granting bail in this matter.”


Hurl Hamilton

“Well, he is not charged for murder, let’s make that clear. And under the laws of Belize, the magistrate may grant bail if he so chooses. There is nothing in our respectful view that suggests he should not be granted bail. He is not a foreigner. He is a born Belizean. So every indication is that he is going to show up for the court date. Bail or concerns with regards to bail is whether he is going to show up for his court date. There is nothing to indicate that Mr. Kareem Martinez is not going to show up for his court date and show up for the matter.”


We spoke to Laddie Gillett’s legal guardian, Emil Bradley, outside the courtroom before the arraignment hearing. He was not pleased with the lesser charge of manslaughter brought against Corporal Martinez. He told the press that he does not see it as a charge fit for the crime.


Emil Bradley

Emil Bradley, Legal Guardian of Laddie Gillett

“All I can say, it is not what I was expecting. I mean, we are asked, we have waited. We wanted justice. Manslaughter, I just don’t see it as a charge fit. His actions, I mean, I don’t know. From a trained body, a disciplined body, and you are allowed to carry a firearm, at least you should have some level of training to know from the time you point it at somebody and pull the trigger, you could kill this person. This is not a toy something, you could kill this person. So from the time he picked this gun up and aim it atta this kid and pull the trigger that was intentional. Don’t tell me that was not intentional. If he had tripped and ih gawn off, and ih shoot ah, that is different. If ih mih shoot ah from ih bottom downwards, you could have said mein he didn’t intend to kill him. But if it is on his back it is unacceptable, and deh yah dah the things weh mek people get rattied and outta hand and see things different. I the try keep mih calm and everything together fih right now, but continue on like this, no it won’t.”


Paul Lopez

“Your frustration is rather obvious; would you have preferred that a murder charge be levied against him?”


Emil Bradley

“From the background, I would have expected at least murder. I mean, let the judge be the decider, not Cheryl-Lyn. Let the judge decide what he deserves. I mean, jump to a conclusion right a way to manslaughter. It is not the first time people have been charged to manslaughter and it drops to murder. Right away it jumps to manslaughter. And, this is what is getting people frustrated in this country because of your political status, or status in society, and you do things and you get away with it, which is wrong, and especially the policeman. So, who we should look fah?”

Bradley says his family is open to receiving an apology from the officer believed to have killed Laddie Gillett.


Emil Bradley

“All he needs to do is come out, even if ih nuh sorry man, just come out and seh sorry to all Laddie family and friends. My actions wasn’t right. Dah neva my intentions fuh kill ah. And ih done. We understand, we could forgive people. Fuh live with deh kinda energy dah nuh something nice.”


Condolences were offered to the family, but it was from Corporal Martinez’s attorney Hurl Hamilton.


Hurl Hamilton

“As a parent, as a human being, I am expressing condolences to the family. I haven’t gotten any instructions from him. You would have to speak to Mr Martinez about that.”


Martinez was able to post bail. He was escorted into a fully tinted vehicle under heavy police presence, and driven off the compound. Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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