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Police officers call for backup over confrontation after ticketing Santa Elena firefighters for not wearing masks

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Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2021. 6:26 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Cayo police called for backup this morning on members of the Belize National Fire Service (BNFS) during a confrontation that stemmed from the officers ticketing firefighters, for not wearing masks.

The incident unfolded just before 8:00 a.m. at the Santa Elena Fire Station, where the Fire Service was conducting a shift change.

Breaking Belize News (BBN) spoke with one of the firefighters this afternoon, Ebony Wright, who explained that they were on the fire station compound sitting on a bench speaking to their supervisor when a police sergeant came and informed them that they were being ticketed.

The station supervisor then asked the officers to exercise their discretion and give the firefighters a warning, but the sergeant refused and continued with the ticketing. One firefighter, who has been with the Fire Service for 16 years refused to give the officers his social security card in protest of what he felt was an unfair decision. That’s when the sergeant called for backup and the area was filled with police officers soon after.

The station supervisor intervened and deescalated the situation, and the incident ended without further repercussions.

“At the end of the day, we work hand in hand with the police for them to treat us like this,” Wright said. “They charged us for being in public without wearing a mask, but we were on the fire station compound- we were at work.”

Three firefighters received $500 tickets, which they say they want rescinded.

 

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