BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 27, 2021– Another police officer is currently under investigation for possible violations of the law after he was caught on video exerting excessive force on a civilian who was being detained. Last weekend in Santa Elena, Cayo, a man was apprehended for apparently driving while intoxicated, but not before he was placed in a chokehold and bound in rope by the arresting officer trying to subdue him.
The Belize Police Department does, in fact, have a policy against chokeholds, so most of the persons who witnessed the incident and those who later viewed the video of the arrest found the officer’s actions to be harsh and unnecessary. The Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, stated that while he would not justify the actions of the police officer, it was clear that the video did not capture the full sequence of events as they occurred. Williams went further to say that it was clear in the video that the civilian being arrested was resisting the officer’s efforts to detain him.
“Yes, I did saw a video last night again on social media with an officer who was holding a person in a chokehold. Again, I listened to the voices in the video, and I heard where people were saying that those who were recording chose to record at a certain point but they did not record what took place before. I am made to understand that the individual was under the influence and the police tried arduously to contain him, and he was still behaving disorderly. As a matter of fact, you even saw in the video where the police tried to put him in the vehicle and he was still resisting and was fighting,” Williams said at a press conference held last week.
Williams even referenced the egregious assault and ultimate death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers that shook America and started an ongoing movement against police brutality, in his comments during the press conference.
“Now, I am not going to justify the actions of the officer in terms of putting the person in a chokehold, because we do have a policy following the George Floyd incident in the U.S. We created our own internal policy to the effect that police officers in Belize are no longer to use the chokehold as a method to be able to restrain a person. So the officer in question conduct would go against our internal police, and so I have directed PSB to look at it, but at the end of the day too we have to be reasonable, and I don’t think that it’s something that warrants the police officer being killed,” Williams said.