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Cops fired for Nestor Vasquez’s death

Vasquez, while in police lockdown, was severely beaten by another mentally challenged person who was in the same cell

BELIZE CITY. Mon. Sept. 30, 2019– Nestor Vasquez, Jr., 60, the brother of media personality Jules Vasquez of  7News, died after he was severely beaten by Collin Francis, 28, who is mentally challenged, while they were in  lockdown in a cell in the cell block at the Queen Street Police Station on the night of Wednesday, June 5.

Following the death of Nestor Vasquez, Jr., the cops who were on cell block duty at the time of the assault of Vasquez were placed on interdiction, with half-pay, and it was ordered that they be placed on disciplinary charges. The three officers are Sergeant Shawn Walton, who was the Executive Duty Officer (EDO) at the police station, and Constables Edward Pitterson and Bernard Cayetano.

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams said that there would be no cover-ups, and the file containing information gathered during the investigation would be sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for her perusal, and if criminal charges were to be brought against the three policemen, then, so be it.

Today, ComPolWilliams announced that the policemen were tried internally, and a police tribunal found the men guilty of breaches of conduct and their dismissal was ordered. ComPol Williams said that the dismissal order would be sent to the Attorney General for his perusal, and also to the Public Service Commission.

Reports indicate that the policemen on duty in the cell block saw the assault in the holding cell on a television monitor after Vasquez was placed in the cell with Francis, who attacked Vasquez, viciously slamming his head against the cement wall and on the iron bars of the cell door.

After a while, police went into the cell and took Vasquez out, but he was already unconscious.

Jules Vasquez, his brother, said that the police officers appeared not to care that his brother was being mercilessly beaten, because they moved “with no urgency.”

According to Jules, his brother’s head appeared to have been “disassembled” because of the severe injuries he sustained.

ComPol Williams said that cell block protocols were violated, and that a mentally challenged detainee should not have been put in a cell with any other person.

Williams said that a retired senior policeman would be identified and brought in to prosecute the three policemen, and that the process would be completed within 4 months.

The Vasquez family, however, issued a statement condemning the police for the negligence. The statement also said that the family will seek all legal remedies. The family’s attorney, Leslie Mendez, said, “We do not accept that this was merely an act of negligence. Rather, this was a deliberate and sadistic act. The officers were fully aware of the mental health of both detainees, and were fully aware that Collin Francis had demonstrated violent instability, having been recently charged with attempted murder.”

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