Posted: Monday, June 20, 2022. 7:19 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: In early April, a video of police officers abusing their authority while draining a man at the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airstrip went viral. Today, the Belize Police Department says they are having trouble charging the officer, because the complainant, Shamar Foster, is not cooperating with investigators.
Head of the Police Professional Standards Branch, Senior Superintendent of Police Calbert Flowers, explained today that the officer was placed on interdiction, removing him from active duty and reducing his salary by half while the matter is being investigated. Flowers said that the matter is still under investigation but Foster, who initially made a complaint, has since refused to assist investigators with any other information.
“He refuses to give us a statement, but we are still dealing with this officer, by the use of the video,” Flowers said,
He went on to say that the officer will go before a disciplinary tribunal, where police intend to tender the video as evidence with the hopes of securing a conviction. He stressed that Foster’s refusal is making securing that conviction very difficult for police.
“In my knowledge, this is the first attempt to introduce a video without a complainant’s statement. We used to introduce the video, but of course, it was with a complainant’s statement…but we do not have a complainant in this matter,” Flowers added.
When asked about Foster’s safety given the potential for retaliation by the officer, Flowers says that police cannot offer any guarantees that it would not happen, but that police have not encountered any such situation thus far that a disciplined officer seeks to retaliate against a complainant.
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