The mother said that she, as well as her son, 19, was beaten
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 11, 2019– Complaints of police brutality have become almost routine on the weekly news, but a mother who said that she has had just about enough of it spoke out today at the compound of AMANDALA and KREM after her son, Tyrick Francis, 19, was allegedly brutalized by police at the Mahogany Street Police Station while he was making a report about a cell phone that was stolen from their house in the Gungulung area of Lake Independence at about 10:30 Friday night.
Little information has been disclosed regarding the beat-down, and no police report has been released on the matter.
Tifanie Francis, 40, a domestic of Belize City, told us that she is disgusted with the actions of the Police Department because her son, Tyrick, was brutalized by officers of the Mahogany Street Precinct when he went there with her to make a report that Friday night.
Francis said that while inside the Mahogany Street Precinct Police Station with those who were at her house that evening, trying to get to the bottom of the theft of the phone, her attention was drawn to a commotion outside, and she saw a policeman choking her son and another officer punching him in his chest and stomach.
At the same time that she ran out to stop them from beating her son, a police bus came up with officers in it, and the officers came out and joined in beating her son, instead of stopping the violence at the police station.
Francis said that she immediately reacted and tried to save him from the beating by trying to hold off the policemen who were beating him, but there were many of them, and she was kicked and punched in her side and thrown down as the attack on her son continued.
Francis asked why her son was being beaten, and tried to tell the police that they had come to make a report at the station, but she was manhandled, she said, adding that her son was also pepper-sprayed.
She screamed for help and bystanders who saw what was happening began to rail at the police, and Tyrick managed to get away from them and ran across the road to a yard, where the residents there threw water on his face, because he was not breathing properly due to the effects of the pepper spray.
Tyrick told us that it all happened outside, while his mother was in the station giving a report on the theft of her phone from their house. He said that he, his sister and their cousin walked out of the station to go to the gacho shop that was in front of the station in the yard, when two policemen came up and one of them said, “Man, like you need to be beaten,” and then the policeman asked him, “You know who me?”
Tyrick said he told the officer, “No sir,” and the officer told him that he would show him who he was, and punched him, while the other officer grabbed him, and that was when the beating began.
He said that fearing for his life, that he was going to be killed, he managed to escape and run across the road to a neighbor. In trying to escape the police, he said, he was almost knocked down by a vehicle.
Tyrick said that his mother tried to help, but she was kicked and punched. He said that he had not done anything to warrant the beat-down.
Tifanie Francis said that after they were beaten, a police vehicle came and took her and Tyrick to the hospital, where they were checked by a doctor who declared their injuries as harm.
Francis said that since her eldest son, Dean Nembhard, Jr., was shot and killed in July 2018, she had ordered her children to stay at home so they do not have problems with anyone.
While her son was being beaten, she said, her daughter, 17, was thrown to the ground twice. Francis says that she plans to file a criminal suit against the policemen who beat them.
Meanwhile, she, her son and her daughter have made a police statement and have filed a report to the Professional Standards Branch (PSB), the internal police unit that is mandated to investigate complaints against police officers.
In following up on the report to us of the police brutality, we were directed to the PSB. An official of the PSB told us this morning that they have gotten a report of the police brutality and that Francis is requesting action against the officers. He told us that there are steps that they must follow.
He said a written report of the incident has been submitted to them, and so they will begin the initial investigation. The official said that the officers will be issued with a Notice of Complaint, and they will be given seven days to submit a written report of what occurred, to PSB.
If the investigation carried out by PSB finds that the officers are responsible, they will be arrested and charged criminally, since the family has requested court action, and they will also be taken before a police tribunal to face trial internally.
The PSB official said there is a little skepticism about the report filed against the officers, especially the part where Tyrick said that a bus with about 20 police officers came up and they joined in beating him.
He said that he can’t imagine 20 Special Patrol Unit officers beating one man, and the doctor only declared harm. He said that if 20 SPU officers had beaten the teenager, he expected that the boy would have suffered more injuries.
On taking over command of the Police Department, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams said that there’d be a zero tolerance policy for police brutality. He said that there was no place for police brutality in the department, and those who engaged in it would be dealt with.