Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2021. 1:14 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Following the release of the surveillance footage showing the shooting death of Belize Defense force Soldier Jesse Escobar, it became apparent that the statement given by the officer on the scene Police Constable #1189 Juan Carlos Morales contained blatantly false information in an attempt to save himself and his patrol. Today Police Commissioner Chester Williams said that the department is looking to make an example of Morales for making that false statement.
Williams notes that the authenticity of Morales’ witness statement which is being circulated is in question, as that copy was not signed, but he conceded that the unsigned copy has major similarities with the signed version. The most important similarity, Williams stresses, is that the officer lied.
“The fact that the officer lied in the statement, it is something that we are also looking at internally because under our disciplinary rules it would fall under an act of prejudice to good order and discipline as well,” Williams said. “That’s the reason why he is going to be charged. We need it to be made loud and clear to them that once we find out they are lying on a statement, an official statement that forms a part of an investigation, that they will be dealt with.”
Williams also said that it is his hope that what will be done to Morales will serve as a deterrent to other officers who may want to lie on their witness statements.
In Morales’ statement, he said a struggle ensued, which clearly did not occur when the footage is viewed. Morales also fraudulently claimed that Escobar “reached out and grabbed the M4 Carbine that was in was in Pte. Valencia’s possession.”
Adding to his lies and attempted shady cover up, Morales went on to say that the civilians on the scene attacked himself and his accompanying BDF patrol by throwing pint bottles at them once Escobar had been shot, none of which is shown in the surveillance video.
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