Posted: Friday, May 26, 2023. 9:05 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: A cop’s aimed bullet unintentionally took the life of 14-year-old Laddie Gillett in July of 2021, who ever since has been a cause celebre for the Police Department’s operational mishaps.
The officer who admitted to firing it (legal claims aside), 29-year-old former Corporal Kareem Martinez, was sent off to jail on Wednesday for 18 years.
At last, there is legal justice for the young man, and those who continue to honor his memory and burnish his legacy settled on a thankful tone in a press statement.
The Justice for Laddie Foundation says it looks forward to a new beginning with its work to change the style of interaction between police and minors. It has thanked presiding judge Antoinette Moore for her dedication to justice and the work she put into her verdict in April and decision on sentencing this week as well as Belizeans that have supported the journey and reached out to families in similar circumstances.
As to the wider issue, Minister of Human Development Dolores Balderamos-Garcia also weighed in: “We continue to work with the police on the rights of children and children should never be treated in the same way as adults. It is necessary for us to give that special attention to minors. You cannot treat minors in the same way as adults.”
She added on the matter of the verdict: “… the judge taking into account every single thing came down on the side of being stiff and I think as a country we have to absolutely respect that.”
Kareem Martinez’s attorney Oscar Selgado has said that he will appeal the verdict, claiming that his client was left to take the fall by fellow officers.
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