Posted: Thursday, November 9, 2023. 1:16 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: A member of the Belize Coast Guard (BCG) faces potential criminal and disciplinary charges after a showdown with two police officers at a nightclub in Belize City.
The incident was recorded on video and shows the seaman shoving the officers as they tried to restrain him after being asked to leave. He is alleged to have been under the influence of alcohol.
Both Commissioner of Police Chester Williams and Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Elton Bennett, say they have seen the video and in their respective views, both criminal and internal charges are likely.
The Commissioner explained, “I have given instructions to the police to make sure that Coast Guard officer is found and charged like any other person… His conduct certainly went against the conduct of the Coast Guard and I would hope that they would apply their disciplinary code to him so he can face charges not just criminally, but also internally.”
Admiral Bennett indicated that once the police have laid charges, its disciplinary machine goes into effect: “The police investigation will determine the extent of his action, but it’s obvious that he was involved in some brawl. I hope that the police would take very quick action in terms of discipline with him and we can move from there…once someone is criminally charged then they’re dismissed.” The offending officer would be placed on interdiction from the service once criminal charges are laid.
The Commissioner of Police also spoke to the officers’ restraint, commending them: “…police officers you would notice over the past few months or years have been exercising great restraint in difficult times and it’s because we have been saying to our officers that the use of excessive force against anybody is not going to be tolerated. So we are seeing that they are getting the message but at the same time, it does not mean that police must subject themselves to be ‘chanced’ by anybody. I wish they would have done more and put him in his place but they chose to do otherwise and I believe that they should be commended for displaying that even under extreme provocation they were able to maintain their minds or their composure and act reasonable in the circumstances.”
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