ORANGE WALK TOWN, Thurs. Feb. 22, 2018– Around 4:00 a.m., officers from the police’s Special Assignment Group (SAG) and one officer from the Special Patrol Unit (SPU) stopped at a house in Orange Walk Town, where four men and a woman were socializing. The officers were investigating a stolen cell phone.
When the police were finished, however, one man was beaten so badly that he succumbed to his injuries hours later, and another man is clinging to life at the Northern Regional Hospital.
Ariel Salazar, 46, died around 11:00 a.m. this morning while undergoing treatment and his friend, Oscar Pias, remains hospitalized and is reportedly clinging to life.
Noel Sanchez, one of the men who was present and who was also reportedly beaten by the officers, was asked by a reporter from CTC3 in Orange Walk Town, to describe what had happened.
Sanchez said, “They knocked on the door once and the second time, the door fly. They told us to face down. Dread bally get hit first. Now, dem no di ask me no question, dem di beat me up. Most of dem had their faces covered, they call it capuchas. Only the general had his face open. They were asking questions in Spanish and Creole.
When we were face down on the floor, they started to hit us. “They were not questioning me, they were beating me up,” Sanchez said. “They beat up all of we.”
“When they come in, they di ask whey the contact phone deh. CJ (one of the men who were beaten) seh di f…ing phone stay right deh [ina di bathroom].”
Sanchez said, “when di phone was lost, this same dread bally di tell the gyal fu go report it. So when dem come in, dem no carry we da station. The unit did not know the gyal, so they ask her for her digits (numbers).
“So when they bring CJ and JB (another of the men who were beaten), dem broke [dem] down right yah. When dem gone look for me, I ask them whey di army truck deh.”
Sanchez said he wants to ask for justice, not for himself, but for the others. “I di worry about dem more than me,” he said.
CTV3 reported that Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams had gone to Sanchez’s house to conduct the investigation, but had declined an offer for an interview.
CTV3, however, spoke with a witness who lives in the lower flat of the building in which the terrible beating took place.
Edid Miranda explained that she and her boyfriend were downstairs when they were awakened by the loud noises coming from upstairs Sanchez’s house.
After hearing the loud noises upstairs, Miranda went outside to see what was happening.
“It was around 3:30, and I heard like somebody mi deh bawl inna pain, like dem mi di moan. Me and my boy get up, cause we hear like something di happen upstairs, like dem mi di beat up dem or something. Lee while after that, dem bring them downstairs, because one of the boy holler my boy name.
“When we come out, one a deh man dem asked me if I okay, cause I pregnant. I tell am yes, I alright. And he seh, just go inside, because a no want you see what wan happen ya.
“My boy mi done deh stand up pan the side a di house, and one of dem tell am, you see how dem boy lay out [on the ground], right so you wan lay out.”
Miranda and her boy eventually went back inside their house and saw when the officers continued beating the two men who were lying on the ground.
According to Miranda, the stolen phone belongs to the same female who was socializing with the men.
Salazar’s sister told CTV3 that her brother was broken up: “all of his bone broken, he died from internal bleeding” she said. “That no right and dem da di law; I need justice,” Salazar’s sister said.