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Human Rights Commission issues condemnation of police abuse of David Small

Posted: Tuesday, July 6, 2021. 11:20 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The police officers who arrested David Small on July 2, 2021 near San Ignacio Town were wrong to have kicked him about while handcuffed and refused to get him medical attention for his injuries, the Human Rights Commission of Belize has said in a statement.

Such abuses, the Commission wrote, have become all too common, and this one may yet have gone ignored but for a bystander who captured it on camera and posted it on social media.

“Irrespective of the reasons for the detentions or arrests, police officers are lawfully guided by protocols when exercising their duties. While the Commission recognizes that officers may face numerous challenges when out in the field, as stated in the “New Criminal Guidelines for Interviewing and Treatment of persons in Police detention” [a code of conduct governing police interaction with arrested persons], “it is nonetheless vital for the core values of society, including the rule of law and the proper administration of justice that, even in the face of these sometimes-exasperating difficulties, basic rules of fairness and respect for the fundamental human rights of the individuals be observed,” the Commission wrote.

It continued, “The Commission stresses that police officers are charged by law to protect the communities they serve and to prevent crime. Therefore, the Police Officers’ gross violations of persons’ basic human rights is a direct affront to their oath and the people of Belize.”

Small sustained several bruises to his abdomen and face as a result of the encounter.

The Department’s Professional Standards Branch is looking into the incident.

 

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