ORANGE WALK TOWN, Thurs. Apr. 16, 2015–After allegedly beating a man with his club in the process of arresting him, Special Constable Edward Swift, of the Orange Walk police, was arrested and charged with wounding and use of excessive force by police on Tuesday.
Swift was taken to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court yesterday, where he was arraigned on the charge. He pleaded not guilty and was offered bail of $1,000, which he met, and was ordered to return to court on June 20.
The victim’s ordeal was captured on his wife’s cellphone – apparently, the officers were so focused on manhandling the victim that they did not notice her recording their actions.
Police said that SC Swift and another policeman went to the home of Orange Walk Town resident, Andres Rodriguez, 28, and that Swift beat him up, handcuffed him and dragged him out of his house. They then took him to the police station.
Police said that the second accused, a policeman, will be tried by a police tribunal, on charges of neglect of duty for not stopping SC Swift from brutalizing Rodriguez with a club.
The incident occurred at about 7:30 Sunday night in Orange Walk Town. Police said that a woman reported that she was being followed by a man, and the officers went to see what was happening.
The woman described the man to them, and at the same time Rodriguez was driving by and they tried to stop him, but he sped away.
The officers then followed Rosado to his home and when he got out of his vehicle, the officers went after him and proceeded to beat him.
Superintendent Dennis Arnold, Commander of Orange Walk police, said that the beating and the excess force used against Rodriguez were unwarranted.
Rodriguez, who is a laborer in Orange Walk Town, said that he wants justice and will take action against the officers for brutalizing him.
Rodriguez’s wife’s videotape was shown to police, and it was also shown on CTV 3 Belize. The video shows Rodriguez, with a bleeding forehead and face, being beaten and dragged away, while his hands were handcuffed.