The issue of police brutality is once again in the forefront as Belizeans across the country continue to demand justice for the police shooting of Laddie Gillett. The fourteen-year-old teenager was shot and killed by police officer, Kareem Martinez on Wednesday night while he was on a beach in Placencia. He is not the first black male to be killed by police and many suspects that he won’t be the last. Attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley said that the Belize Police Department has the responsibility to compensate Gillett’s family for his death. Bradley also shared that the family of Allyson Major, another victim of police shooting, has yet to receive compensation for his death.
Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “In a democracy the government would have apologized to the family of Allyson Major and to all those people who have been beaten and shot and tortured and chanced up and they would pay compensation. Up until last month the family of Alison Major have not received a cent that is like rubbing salt into a wound, that is really but let me hurry hastily add bit respect to Kareem Musa, respect to Minister Bernard they publicly made statements that shows they do not condone that. The wife of the Prime Minister put out a statement that that can’t be happening in our society, that we the society have a responsibility to children. How come the police could shot a fourteen year old in his back ? So that is a big thing to be said. Now if they really want to do something they need to pay the family on compensation without have to go through court because they have some lawyers that go to court they waste the Supreme Court’s time one year, two years, three years fighting against paying compensation in circumstances which are straight forward. Tell me what argument they will put up not to compensate the family for a fourteen year old child.”
Protestors are calling for Kareem Martinez’s charge be upgraded to murder from manslaughter. They are also demanding a total reform of the Belize Police Department.
Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “There’s no reform. They make statements and that is the end of the matter. Nobody is talking about reform, nobody is talking about improve. You just coaxed out of me the biggest problem in our society. Let me pause and I don’t know how you will handle when you’re editing me because it’s the the editing I will get cut on. Let me tell you something. In this young country that will just celebrate forty years as an independent nation we have a massive problem with gangs, with young people who don’t have a problem to take a gun and kill somebody. If somebody likes your girl right now and they want to deal with them they can send a man to kill you you know ? There is somebody out there, a lot of them, they’d come and shoot you down just like that you know. That’s a very very serious matter. The last government formed the Gang Suppression Unit and you all know more than me how they behaved during about ten years of being in existence. When government changed recently the Commissioner of Police – the new Commissioner – said that some of them behave like animals those are his words some of them behave like animals. Now think for a moment we are paying these people you know ? They’re not doing us any favors we are paying you to protect us not to beat us up, not to drag me out of my vehicle in front of people, throw me on the ground like I am any iguana or wishwilly stand up on me and do me all kinds of things. For ten years these people chanced up hundreds and hundreds of citizens in this country. The Prime Minister when he was the Leader of the Opposition he and his colleagues promises us that they would disband the GSU and I am so disappointed like so many people that the GSU is right around beating up people and chancing people and it’s a fluke it wasn’t them that shot the fourteen year old. The eyewitnesses say that people in black jumped out in front of them you know ? If police are in black what is going on with us, what is wrong with us ? Why are we militarizing the police ? Why do they have sub machine guns and American uniforms ? When you give somebody that kind of thing they start to behave like that. And guess what ? None of them get demoted. None of them have been charged for all the things they do. They shoot people you know ? Beat up people. Nothing happens to any of them. As a matter of fact as I mentioned they’re back. They’re like the gremlins they’re back. All that they did is that they have G13 on their thing instead of GSU. That is such a slap in all of our faces that I don’t know that is why what happened happened. Those of us who are lawyers we get a lot of complaints how people beat up people in Placencia, they beat you in the station in Independence. Ladyville had a bad name they changed the leader there so I don’t know but man it’s time for us to rebel against that.”
Reporter: The current minister of Foreign Affairs he was very vocal when his party got out of power in terms of police brutality.
Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “That’s the story of politics in Belize when you’re out you say all kinds of things and when you’re in it just continues; that’s the problem we have. But you all journalists are the only saving grace, you have to expose every complaint, you got to hold these ministers responsible. But you told us you would disband why did you come with a fool about a rebrand ?”