Posted: Monday, August 30, 2021. 5:11 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The family of the late Laddie Gillett, 14, continues to cry out for justice as his case meanders toward resolution.
The teenager of Cayo District was shot dead by a police officer on July 14 in Placencia, while returning home shortly before curfew. Police had been summoned in response to alleged mischief-makers near a hotel in the area.
Officer Kareem Martinez was charged with manslaughter, though some believe he should face murder charges.
Laddie’s adoptive grandmother Lucy Fleming, owner of Chaa Creek Resort where he stayed, says that six weeks after his death, his family’s pain “is still raw [as we] continue to grieve. There’s the empty seat at the table that can never be filled, rooms still devoid of laughter, a little brother asking why his best friend is never coming back to play.”
While he has yet to even be tried before a court of law, Fleming says the incident and the actions of Corporal Martinez has gravely hurt our younger population – their innocence, their hopes and dreams, their innate respect for law and order, their sense of security.
If Belize and its youth are to fulfil their promise and potential, Fleming explains, our community must come together to ensure that police officers think twice before ending lives needlessly.
The family has proposed a law that would more closely regulate police-involved shootings of youth especially and generally.
Corporal Martinez returns to court on October 18.
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