Teakettle villagers protest fatal police shooting Print
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Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

A police officer shot a civilian in the Arizona area of Teakettle Village, Cayo, that man subsequently died. Police say that it was an accidental shooting, but friends of the victim are insisting that the officers intentionally shot him. The deceased has been identified as 20 year-old Edwin Antonio Baires Hernandez, a Salvadoran who is also known as “Jose”.

The police version of events are that at around 1:35 p.m. on Sunday, December 3, they responded to a report of a robbery at the football field in the Arizona area of the village. Residents say that the field was very active that day because there were a number of football games happening as part of a sports marathon.

The cops say that when they arrived, they saw an individual identified to them as “Jose”. This man reportedly ran off as soon as he spotted them coming, and a police officer chased after him. This officer said that while Baires Hernandez was running, he fell into a barbed wire fence. The officer reportedly ran into this barbed wire fence as well, and he has told his superiors that the gun discharged, injuring Baires Hernandez to the right leg. He was transported to the Western Regional Hospital, but he died while receiving treatment. A post mortem has since certified that Hernadez choked to death. It showed that he had food in his stomach and whilst running he regurgitated it and that caused him to choke. The gunshot wound was a superficial one and would not have caused him to die.

Residents of Teakettle tell the press that they saw the incident unfold, and they don’t accept the police version of events.

One friend said, “We don’t really believe what they are saying.”

They specified that they heard 3 shots, not 1 as the police officer involved is claiming.

One eyewitness says, “I saw him running… two of the police officers went after him, chased him and they both cranked their guns. And just after a few seconds I saw that the guy was running then I heard a first shot and some couple seconds after we heard two other shots.”

His friends also insist that he was not involved in any robbery, so they don’t see why he caught the police attention.

The Commissioner of Police has ordered a criminal investigation, and an internal investigation to assess the conduct of the officer.

But apparently, that was not enough for some villagers of Teakettle. A few of them went on one of the roads near the Arizona area, early on Tuesday, December 5, and they blocked the road access with burning tires and stones. The authorities had to respond to clear the way, and put out the burning tires. They detained 3 persons in connection with that riot-like behavior. They are Mervin Corea, Belizean Farmer; Plines Gutierrez, Salvadoran Mechanic and Guadalupe Guerra, Domestic all of Teakettle village. The trio was charged for illegal assembly and two of them were offered police bail and will reappear before a magistrate in Belmopan on Thursday. The third person was not offered bail as he is being charged for illegal entry as well.