Belize Coast Guard Member Faces Dismissal After Altercation with Police Officer
The Belize Coast Guard is awaiting the outcome of pending court cases against one of its members, 24-year-old Shakeem Richards, to determine if he will be dismissed. Over the weekend Richards was captured on video, having an altercation with a police officer at a Belize City night club. The video shows Richards slapping the officer and threatening to shoot him. Richards had previously been charged in connection with a robbery back in July 2022. Today, Commandant of the BCG, Rear Admiral Elton Bennett, said that disciplinary action that had been recommended for Richards for the first offense were still pending when this most recent incident occurred. Admiral Bennett says that the rules of the BCG limits the level of discipline that can be imposed before Richards gets an official verdict in court.
RADM Elton Bennett, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard: “So that’s a police investigation. The extent of that case will determine the level of discipline that is applied to him. We will run a parallel disciplinary procedure which we will be able to administer discipline as to what we saw but I’m sure there’s a lot to that and that will take place in the criminal court so we will not involve ourselves with that. The police investigation will determine exactly what occurred there and if he is found guilty as any member of the Coast Guard if they were to be found guilty in any criminal act they could be dismissed from the service. As it relates to what we do internally because he is charged he will be placed on interdiction until his criminal case is completed. We can only administer discipline to a certain extent based on the Coast Guard regulations. The full extent for example to be dismissed from the service for an offense that occurred off the job would be dependent on the outcome of the criminal case.”
Richards was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court yesterday on two counts of aggravated assault upon Corporal Carlos Poot and Corporal Mario Chin and one count of using threatening words upon Corporal Poot. He was granted bail in the sum of wo thousand dollars plus one surety of the same, which he met.