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Was Kareem Martinez a good cop or rogue cop?

GeneralWas Kareem Martinez a good cop or rogue cop?

Photo: Kareem Martinez

The Justice for Laddie Foundation takes offense to COMPOL Williams defending former police corporal, Kareem Martinez, for saying that he’s an “outstanding police officer”.

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 1, 2023

Last week Wednesday, May 24, former police officer, Kareem Martinez was sentenced to 18 years behind bars at the Belize Central Prison for killing 14-year-old Laddie Gillett in Placencia Village on July 14, 2021. Martinez was charged with manslaughter for the crime, and his sentence was handed to him two years after the incident occurred by Justice Antoinette Moore, after finding him guilty on April 21, 2023 for slaying the teen.

His 18-year sentence has many Belizeans on the fence about whether it was too harsh or lenient. One person who is saying that the sentence is too harsh is Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, who told members of the national media on Monday, May 29, that the former corporal wasn’t a rogue cop, and instead had an outstanding record with the department.

“Kareem Martinez was not one of those rogue police,” Commissioner Williams said. “He certainly was an outstanding police officer. His track record in the department is a stellar one. I am sure that on that day in question, he did not wake up with the mindset that he was going to kill someone … and I am also sure that when the incident occurred he was extremely remorseful. I don’t think that he would have intended to kill the young man.”

Those same comments would then backfire on the COMPOL, as The Justice for Laddie Foundation took offense to what he said.

In a press release issued by the Foundation, it highlighted that COMPOL Williams called out two other officers for committing sexual offenses as rogue cops, but not Martinez who killed the 14-year-old Gillett and stripped him of potentially 70 years of life. The release goes on to mention that Martinez represents a failure within the Belize Police Department.

“One thing seems crystal-clear to us, that is that Kareem Martinez was a product of failure within the police department; a department that let him down in training and preparedness,” the release said.

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