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Jul 20, 2021

Protests for Laddie Continue: ComPol Says Manslaughter is Strongest Charge Possible

Across the nation, protestors are calling for the police officer who was allegedly behind the shooting death of fourteen-year-old Laddie Gillett to be jailed and charged with murder.  Every night, for the past five days, there have been protests and candle vigils for the slain teen. Tonight, News Five’s Paul Lopez takes a look at those cries for justice and why the Commissioner of Police says that a manslaughter charge is actually the strongest charge that can be leveled against the accused officer.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

In Placencia village on Sunday night, angry protestors called for Corporal Kareem Martinez to be jailed, referring to the shooting death of Laddie Gillett as murder. This view is being shared by many people across the nation, as protests continue in other parts of the country.


Earlyn “Stig” Hutchinson, Relative of Deceased

“It is what it is, that dah murda eena my opinion and he have to pay the penalty mein.”


Santie Valencia

Santie Valencia, Football Coach

“What is this, with manslaughter by negligence? This child was shot in the back! This child was shot in the back.”


On his latest podcast episode, Brent’s Two Cent’s, Brent Toombs tackled the issue of Justice for Laddie in a system he says enables and protects bad cops.


Brent Toombs, Brent’s Two Cents

“Maybe if there had been justice for Allison Major Jr. two years ago, we wouldn’t be crying for justice for Laddie Gillett today. Maybe if the cop who shot Steven Bucklee in the face had been tried for his action instead of getting promoted, other offices might hesitate to shoot first and ask questions later. Maybe if those two animals who tortured and beat an eighteen year old to death while in police custody had received more than a slap on the wrist, maybe we would have fewer candle light vigils and maybe we would have just a little bit more respect for law enforcement in Belize.”


Thomas Palacio, Friend of Laddie Gillett

“I would like to believe that this is the start of something great. And, Manslaughter is not what he will be charged with. He has to be charged with murder bro. He murdered Laddie.”


Emil Bradley, Legal Guardian of Deceased

“From the time he pick up this gun and aim at this kid and pull this trigger, I mean, that was intentional. Don’t tell me that is not intentional.”


Chester Williams

But, this morning, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams told the host of Open Your Eyes Morning Show that from his professional perspective, manslaughter is the strongest charge that could have been levied against Corporal Martinez by the Director of Public Prosecutions.


Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“The truth is the young man ought not to have been killed. The police officer ought not to have pulled a weapon. But it happened; we have to deal with the consequences of it now.  How can we say this officer came on duty at four p.m. that evening with the intent to kill Laddie? How could we arrive at that?”


Commissioner Williams says he supports the ongoing protests, as long as they remain peaceful.


Chester Williams

“Let me state categorically that we support the protest. We only ask that the protest be done in a peaceful manner. And, those who may have some criminal intent may not use the opportunity of protest to go and commit whatever act they intend to commit, particularly against police officers.”


There have been no reports of violent acts during any of the demonstrations over the last five days. People will continue to come out across the country tonight, including in the community where Laddie Gillett was raised in the Cayo District by his adoptive aunt.


Sharon Meighan

Sharon Meighan, Aunt of Deceased

“I feel like the higher authority, they could have done things differently so that the charge could not have been simply manslaughter which is the lowest in criminal charge. And, I feel like they are the ones who failed us miserably.”


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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