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Jul 20, 2021

Police and Meighan Family Get Into a Tussle

Police are continuing to crack down on illegal gatherings, but on Monday night, videos began to circulate of a confrontation with police in Belize City that turned ugly. This morning, News Five’s Isani Cayetano visited the area to find out more.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Norris Meighan Sr. was wrapping up a birthday celebration with his sons and other members of his family on Monday night when a team of police officers showed up at their property.  It happened here on Queen Charlotte Street where the father of seven was getting ready to call it a night.  What he did not know was that the encounter with law enforcement would quickly become a violent melee with shots being fired.


Norris Meighan

Norris Meighan, Resident, Queen Charlotte Street

“We were already preparing to disperse at about minutes to nine because we close the establishment from 8:30 and the police came and I approached the commanding officer, Mr. Martinez, and explained to him that we are having a celebration of the birthday of my son and we are preparing to disperse.  And he looked at me and looked at everybody and he said he doesn’t like how I’m speaking to him, so I asked him, “How do you want me to speak to you?  I am explaining to you what is happening and he turned away and he told me that he is going to arrest everybody for social gathering.”


The officers who were under Martinez’s command were then instructed to round up several young men, including Romario Meighan and Dylan Belisle, who were also  at the residence.


Norris Meighan

“They arrested my son and placed him in the vehicle.  When he was sitting in the vehicle they were bringing his cousin to put him in the vehicle but an officer started to choke my son from behind and the cousin that they were putting in the vehicle started to retaliate.  He refused to go in the vehicle when he saw what was happening.  I guess he got agitated and think that when he get in the vehicle they will do him the same.”


That’s when Belisle began to resist arrest and a physical confrontation ensued.  He had already been placed in the pan of the pickup truck when other officers got involved in the scuffle.  According to Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, his men came under attack by an angry crowd and they were forced to fire warning shots.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“The police officers were being attacked by a mob.  The police fired two warning shots to get the mob off.  What must they do?”


In recounting what transpired, Meighan, a fisherman who lives across the street from his place of business, told the media this morning that what took place last night is the result of constant police harassment.


Norris Meighan

“At the time I was being accosted by Mr. Martinez and he was telling me that he was going to arrest me and I was asking him, for what?  And I, myself, got annoyed and I explained to him that I am tired of him coming to my residence or my place of business and harassing my children and abusing them.  And I got so annoyed that he reversed from in front of me and I walked away and locked myself in my business and they pepper sprayed the guys in the vehicle and they took off with them.  Now for them to come and say that we attacked them and we were throwing missiles at them is outrageous.  They’re trying to cover up their blatant act of abuse.”


Admittedly, Meighan agrees that there are times when the location is busy with people who work and also recreate there.


Norris Meighan

“I am still at a loss as to why every time they come here, well it looks like a crowd because I have seven sons and I really agree that sometimes they have some of their friends with them or people that work with us that dive with us, so you would see like fifteen or twenty youths sometimes in this yard.  But what they are doing, they are working, they are building lobster shades, repairing their boat and getting ready to go to sea.  Sometimes they are recreating, I will agree, but they don’t annoy or give anybody no problem.”


The harassment, he says, is unrelenting.  A few days ago, another of Meighan’s son had a violent run-in with police officers who fractured his ribs.


Norris Meighan

“When this incident occurred last night, I am still at a loss because they took them down to the station.  I still don’t know what they charged them for, my son, my cousin and his son.  I have my next son upstairs with a broken rib; two days ago, the police came right here and arrested him from here and when they took him in the vehicle, they started beating him and they fractured his ribs.”


According to the patriarch, he believes that the department is trying to make a connection between his sons and their cross-town relatives on Banak Street.  Although they are all Meighans, his sons, he says, are not involved in gang activity. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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