BELIZE CITY, Wed. Apr. 7, 2021– In late January, we reported of a groundbreaking legal victory in favor of two female police officers who faced disciplinary charges for refusing to remove their dreadlocks. The Supreme Court ruled that the regulation which prevented them from wearing this particular hairstyle was an infringement on the constitutional rights of the officers.
Following the landmark ruling, Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams said that the department would respect the decision of the court and amend their regulations pertaining to the specific hairstyle, but he stuck to his personal position that the women’s dreadlocks were not suitable for their job.
In early February, the two officers who initiated the legal battle with the department appeared on Channel 5’s Open Your Eyes morning talk show to speak about their journey and discuss some of the trials they faced along the way. Following their appearance on the morning show, the two officers, Alleeya Wade and Shantel Berry, were subjected to disciplinary charges by the Police Department.
According to the Commissioner of Police, they breached the media policy regulations of the Belize Police Department which mandate that officers obtain the permission of the Police Commissioner before making any media appearance to speak on internal matters. The officers were both found guilty by a police tribunal, adjudicated by Superintendent Reymundo Reyes.
According to News5, the officers were charged $150 each, to be paid in two installments. However, they also reported that the officers may appeal the decision at the National Security Commission level and undertake yet another legal battle — this time for breach of their freedom of expression.