Yesterday Cabinet Minister Anthony Martinez told the media that it is illegal for police officers to photograph civilians as has been reported over the past couple of weeks. According to Martinez, the Attorney General has advised the Cabinet that police officers should cease and desist this practice, which many have described as racial profiling. Cabinet met on Tuesday and it seems that the police officers have not gotten the memo because this morning police officers were caught on camera taking down the details of two men and photographing them. Attorney Lisa Shoman says that those who have been photographed should demand that their pictures be deleted permanently.
Lisa Shoman, Attorney
“I watched the video, I can see a flash on the video and it seems very clear that the police is photographing this individual on the street, that is the so-called road policing it is illegal and it must stop. That individual has a right to demand that his image be released from police databases, that particular image. Any citizen whose photograph has been wrongfully taken by the police on the road as a part of this program of road policing, has a right to demand that their images be deleted from any database. Furthermore any citizen whose private information has been collected and has had it written down on a piece of paper as I have has a right to demand, and I intend to do so, that their private information be deleted from wherever it is and that those records be destroyed because there is no guarantee that any of them are being kept in a secure manner. I’m glad that the attorney general has not forgotten his fundamental underpinnings and that he understands the constitutional points and that he agrees with me that it is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional and it must stop.”
Since it is unlawful, Shoman says that a person can sue the Belize Police Department.