By Khaila Gentle
BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 6, 2022
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, who over the weekend was made aware of a disturbing incident involving a young woman at a popular Belize City restaurant and bar, has criticized persons who stop to record victims of crimes rather than rendering aid. He also expressed disappointment in police officers’ delayed intervention in the matter, but said that it was most likely due to a misinterpretation of a specific local law.
On the night of Friday, June 3, a young Belize City woman became the victim of what most suspect was a spiked drink. The young woman, showing signs of distress, appeared in the common area of the bar with the lower half of her body exposed. She was then revictimized when other patrons, rather than assisting her, took out their phones and filmed the ordeal. The Commissioner, like many members of the public, has condemned the acts of these persons, noting that the Police Department will be exploring the possibility of levying cyber-crime-related charges.
“Instead of trying to get something to cover the young lady from being exposed, they just took out their phones and videoed and then leaked it to the public. It speaks volumes to the society that we are currently living in,” said Williams.
In the case of the police officers that were present, Commissioner Williams said that their initial lack of action was most likely due to ignorance of the law—with them having been under the impression that male police officers were not allowed to intervene in incidents involving a woman that is exposed.
“The law does not say that male police officers cannot intervene in situations involving women. It simply says that male police officers cannot search [them]. In this case, she would not be searched. In this case, the officers would be acting to protect the woman from being exposed,” he stated.
The Commissioner of Police told local reporters that he feels the matter demands an investigation, but as no formal complaint has been made, it will be difficult to do so.
The proprietor of the restaurant and bar where the incident took place issued a statement this week stating that he is “extremely sorry” for what occured Friday and that the bar’s management is “glad that we had customers with training who assisted the police and our manager in dealing with the situation.”
“To the person or persons who did this I say to you that you are the scum of the earth,” added the bar owner.