Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2020. 9:25 am CST.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
By Roy McCarthy and M.H.: The news of George Floyd’s death has shaken the world. Through peaceful protest and awareness campaigns people are taking a stand against police violence and systemic racism.
The same stories and patterns emerging from the United States also echo what we see in Belize. So many people we have talked to are outraged by continued police abuse and racial profiling tactics that exist right here. How can we make a change? How can we make the law enforcement and justice systems of Belize better?
As a start, it’s our view that radical changes need to be made to police hiring, training, and accountability. We also need to look at how the constitution and other policies and practices that have been put in place contribute to the use and acceptance of police violence.
As an example of this, according to the constitution, it is legal for police to shoot unarmed people to protect property or prevent a non-violent crime. This does not comply with international law or reflect a valuing of human life.
Because of institutionalized racism, it is also more likely to be used against black people and indigenous people in our communities. This is one thing we have the power to change, but we need a strong social demand for this constitutional amendment to be made. For anyone who believes that the law should protect and serve the people of this country, sign this petition. Our goal is to get 7,000 people to sign, so please share it.
We also need people everywhere of all ethnicities to take a stand by reporting police misconduct and unlawfulness, particularly in cases of police brutality, pursuing social justice in court wherever possible. We already have some people ready to take action based on their past encounters with law officials, including cases of excessive force, unlawful arrests, harassment, and grievance actions. If anyone out there has experienced any injustices at the hands of the police or within the justice system, please call 603 2523.
Now is the time to come together and make a change.
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