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LADDIE GILLETT VERDICT: Commissioner of Police salutes verdict but “Dickie” Bradley is still skeptical after venturing to the other side of the law

Posted: Sunday, April 23, 2023. 7:51 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: While a “humblebrag” at best, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams took the opportunity to reiterate after the conviction of a former police officer that the justice system works best when it is allowed to work.

He told reporters, “We have seen recently a number of convictions in the courts where police officers are concerned, those who have been accused of misconduct. That goes to show again that as a department, we can police ourselves and we are quite capable of holding our members accountable when they run afoul of the law or afoul of our internal rules. So I was expecting that ruling from the court. It’s not surprising to me. We know that we did our best in the investigation.”

The Commissioner added on the matter of training that the Police Department is already working with the Magistracy and Judiciary to improve police officers’ understanding of the law and put this into practice.

But as defense counsel turned acting prosecutor in the case Richard “Dickie” Bradley notes, it’s already too late both for Laddie and for Kareem Martinez: “…the tragedy here is that nothing can bring back Laddie Gillett, but a young police officer in his late twenties will more than likely go to prison for an error that could have been avoided had there been proper training and proper management of police officers. I don’t know how you shoot a teenager in his back with a powerful 2.23 [caliber]. That goes straight through you. So, nothing was learned from Laddie Gillett. All the protests of the young people during the curfew period, all the expressions that came out, the government said that there would be police reform nothing has happened. And God forbid but other people will lose their lives at the hands of poorly trained police officers. This was a scathing criticism of the police department, of a system that fails us over and over again.”

Bradley went on to refer to the case of Dyandre Chi, the 19-year-old from Orange Walk recently shot dead by officers after a late-night high-speed chase on a motorcycle. He also noted that the Police Training Academy should be removed from the management of the Police Department and into the Ministry of Education, or the University of Belize and Galen University, with a wider curriculum implemented.

As for the behavior of Officer Claude Augustine, Bradley said he hoped the Police would discipline him after an official judicial notice was taken. The Commissioner has stated that pending a report from prosecutor Javier Chan, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions would make the call on whether he would face a perjury charge.

As well, Justice Moore noted that Thomas Palacio and his kin could sue the Department for its treatment of him during the incident.

 

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