BELIZE CITY, Mon. April 4, 2022 – Another case of police brutality was filmed this weekend. In a video that has since been posted on social media, a police officer can be seen approaching a young man and threatening him with questionable charges as he attempted to board a flight at Belize City Municipal Airport. . The video footage, recorded on a cell phone, shows two police officers – a man and a woman – at the Belize City Municipal Airport searching the young man. The male police officer, however, quickly became aggressive, hurling profanities at the young man as he made violent physical contact with him.
The victim, who can be seen complying with the request of the police in the video, filmed the ordeal herself. Realizing that the young man was filming what was happening, the policeman snatched the phone from his hand while threatening to accuse him of assaulting a policeman.
The behavior of the officers was decried by many, including the Home Secretary, the Hon. Kareem Musa and Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Shyne Barrow.
At Monday’s police press conference, the police department’s communications director, ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, spoke on the matter and said such behavior would not be tolerated on the force.
“I have seen the video about six times. It was sent to me by friends, of course. It is very unfortunate that our police acted in such an unprofessional manner, and I can assure the general public that our Commissioner of Police and our Minister of Police do not condone such behavior.The use of so many [many] obscenities as well as her behavior, and I think at some point I saw the phone or the device of the person she was using fall on the floor. I’m sure the corporal should have taken control of the situation, and that’s why we promote people as supervisors. When you see an officer going off the tangent, you, the supervisor, should come in as the controlling person where you could have removed the constable from this situation so as not to let him further embarrass the service and himself,” a- he declared. deploring that the corporal accompanying the police officer did nothing to defuse the situation.
“If you, as a supervisor, did not know what your role was at that time to bring this situation back to normal or even bring it to a complete end. From what I saw in the video, I can’t say this person was life-threatening for the police or was corporate,” ASP Yearwood commented.
ASP Yearwood further said the police department will not penalize people who record police searches and said no officer should feel offended if someone records them. He also described police search protocol and noted that it is impractical for multiple officers to be present during a search with only one witness present.
Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Shyne Barrow expressed concern about the incident and noted that no police officer should conduct themselves in such an unprofessional manner when dealing with the public. He also said the opposition condemns any abuse of the public by those who have sworn to serve.
Hon. Kareem Musa, Home Minister, also commented on the incident. He promised that swift action would be taken to punish those involved.