Breaking News


January 05
12:54 2019

REPORTER: News Staff – Jan. 4th.

Two rogue cops, PC No. 1919 Samir Medina and PC No. 2287 Tyrell Rowley, attached to the Quick Response Team (QRT) of the San Pedro Police Department, have been placed on seven days suspension pending the outcome of both criminal and internal Police investigations that have been launched into the allegedly excessive use of force they displayed against three civilians.

The actions of the officers on New Year’s Day, captured by multiple phones outside the Playa Bar and Grill, went viral after being shared on various social media platforms. The footage showed Medina and Rowley attempting to detain Jamir Leal, 20 and two of his brothers – but that detention turned into a brutal beatdown.

In the video, Leal can be seen lying on the ground subdued, while Rowley beats him repeatedly with a baton. But Rowley didn’t stop there, and landed a powerful kick to Leal’s face that knocked him unconscious. A man identified as being the owner of the Playa Bar and Grill was also seen running up to Leal while he was on the ground and stomping him to the head.

While onlookers ran to the scene, Rowley pulled out and cocked his gun before stomping at an onlooker. The three civilians were rounded up and placed face-down on the ground while Rowley placed his foot on Leal who by that time was already unconscious and was no threat to him or anyone else.

The first New Year’s black eye for the Police Department brought out its senior command, Acting Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, who commented at a press briefing that “the conduct depicted by the video is not what we expect of our officers and so the Belize Police Department condemns the action of those 2 officers in its strongest terms and we are going to ensure that we do what needs to be done to correct the problem.”

A statement issued by the proprietor of Playa’s Bar and Grill claims that the trio of brothers was thrown outside of the club after assaulting the owner of the establishment who had gone to stop a fight between Jamir Leal and his ex-girlfriend.

While Jamir has accepted that he was under the influence of alcohol and was involved in an altercation with his ex-girlfriend inside the establishment he claims that he never assaulted the bar owner but just shoved him when he tried to intervene in the quarrel.

Leal says that after being thrown outside and coming into contact with the officers he lost consciousness and later woke up at the Police Station. He claimed that he was only taken for medical attention after his mother pleaded to the officers. Leal sustained a cut wound to the right foot, head and bruises to his back, and says that doctors have classified his injuries as wounding and he will be pressing charges against the two officers and the bar owner.

The recent incident of police brutality has been met with widespread condemnation and has only rekindled memories of the April 2017 San Pedro melee involving QRT officers which left several persons injured and from which the officers were able to walk free from charges.

The incident has prompted release from multiple agencies including The Human Rights Commission of Belize, The Belize Network of NGOs, The Orange Walk Town Council and the People’s United Party who cited that there have been far too many instance where Police Officers acting like criminals have been protected by the department and that enough is enough and a proper investigation must be done.

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