BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Jan. 24, 2019– On New Year’s night, there was an incident of police brutality that was captured on video that went viral on social media — sending shockwaves and disgust across the country, as a police officer was seen brutalizing a pair of young boys, one of whom was already in handcuffs and lying on the ground.
The Police Department promised to conduct an investigation and bring the rogue cops to justice.
It has been a little over three weeks now since that incident, and yesterday, just before the Belize City Magistrate’s Court closed, police escorted one of their own to court so that a criminal charge could be read to him.
On Friday, January 18, San Pedro police charged PC Tyrell Rowley, 21, a resident of West Street, Belize City, with one count of wounding against Jamir Leal.
PC Rowley pleaded not guilty to the charge when he was taken before Magistrate Emerson Banner. There was no objection to granting him bail and Magistrate Banner released PC Rowley on a one-thousand-dollar bail and one surety in the same amount. He was able to post bail.
PC Rowley’s matter was adjourned to March 13, when he is expected to appear in the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court.
In addition to the criminal charge, PC Rowley was also charged internally by the Police Department.
PC Rowley has been placed on interdiction pending the outcome of his criminal case, and if he is found guilty, that would be sufficient grounds for the Commissioner of Police to terminate him from the ranks of the Police Department.
The other officer who was shown on the video apparently has not been charged yet.
Leal and two of his brothers, along with their mother, were invited to Belmopan to speak to Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, who assured them that it would be safe to give the police a statement about what had transpired on New Year’s night on San Pedro.