Posted: Monday, August 15, 2022. 7:43 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Commissioner of Police Chester Williams says that, while the officers who left 20-year-old Derrick Uh in the back of a prison van, eventually causing his death, were in the wrong, he does not believe that they acted with malicious intent.
Willaims said that, while it is the first time he has heard of the practice, he could understand the need for the officers who detained Uh for being drunk and disorderly, to put him in the prison bus since they had no other options to detain him.
“I wouldn’t see nothing wrong with it. After all, it is a secure area to keep prisoners. So long as the engine is running and air is circulating. And in the absence of a police station with a cell, they were improvising and I cannot kill them for that. But the thing is when they arrived at the police station, they ought to have made sure that the young man was removed from the van,” Williams said.
Williams acknowledged that there are speculations in the public, and assertions being made on social media that the officers purposely left Uh in the van with no ventilation, but he maintains that his officers are human beings, prone to making errors just as anyone else. Williams also stressed that the officers were working the festival in San Joaquin Village, Corozal district that day, and were no doubt tired.
“They are human beings. I’m sure that they did not expect what happened to have happened. It could have been an oversight on their part…,” Williams said “I don’t want anybody to think that I am defending the police because I am not defending their actions. I have said that what they did was wrong and has to be dealt with. But at the same time, I have to be fair and not make assertions that are not supported by evidence. I cannot say that it was deliberately done, but certainly, there was some degree of gross negligence and carelessness and that is what we’re looking at.”
Williams said that a criminal and internal investigation has been launched and the file will be handed over to the Director of Public Prosecutions upon completion, to determine what charges, if any, will be filed. He said that there were either two or three officers involved, all of whom are from the Corozal district. He has promised an open investigation where none of the findings will be withheld.
Uh was reportedly left in the vehicle on Saturday, and his dead body discovered inside tge police van on Sunday morning.
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