The youth reportedly was unarmed; 1 of 4 officers likely to be criminally charged
The Belize Police Department is currently conducting an internal investigation into a shooting incident which occurred in Unitedville, Cayo, this past Monday, May 26, in which a police officer allegedly shot a teenager in the back, for no apparent reason.
Amandala understands that Elston Arnold, 19, and four of his cousins were on their way home from a wake in a nearby village and were riding on bicycles along the George Price Highway sometime after midnight Sunday. When they were about half a mile from their home, a police mobile unit approached the group and proceeded to search them.
It was during that search that one of Arnold’s cousins, known only as Calbert, was allegedly assaulted by the four officers, after which Arnold himself was later shot by one of the police constables.
Calbert reportedly questioned the corporal in charge of the patrol as to the reason for the search, after which he rode off, but was pursued by the officers, who, according to Arnold, then proceeded to beat his cousin (Calbert) while he was on the ground.
Arnold explained that when he and another of his cousins rode up to the scene of the beating, one of the officers who was still in the police mobile unit exited the vehicle and shot him in the lower left side of the back with a 12-gauge pump action shotgun — for no reason at all, he claimed.
According to the victim’s family, the young men did not pose a threat to the officers, and therefore described the officers’ actions as an excessive use of force.
The family is very angry and is calling for justice, especially since the four officers allegedly drove off and left the shooting victim and his cousin to fend for themselves.
Elston Arnold and his cousin, Calbert, reportedly made their way to a Justice of the Peace in the village for assistance and they were subsequently rushed to the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, where Arnold was admitted in a stable condition and underwent surgery to remove multiple shotgun pellets from his back.
Today, the Police Department confirmed that they have launched an investigation into the matter, stating that if any of the four officers – who are all attached to the San Ignacio Police Precinct – are found cupable, they will be liable for both criminal and internal charges.
We understand that an interim report will be prepared and sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a directive; however, reliable sources have informed us that at least one of the officers will be charged criminally, while the corporal will see disciplinary action taken against him.
The two remaining officers, on the other hand, are also likely to face internal disciplinary charges.