Two videos showing a fight onboard a boat and the subsequent detention of an off duty police officer surfaced on social media this past weekend. The videos have caused a large amount of controversy, as it involves a physical altercation between some women and an openly gay man. Love News Reporter, Courtney Menzies, was able to get to the bottom of this case.
Courtney Menzies: “Whenever a controversial topic hits social media the public becomes the judge, jury and executioner. This is the case with the widely circulated video of a fight on board a San Pedro Belize Express Boat returning to Belize City from Caye Caulker yesterday evening. The fight which included off duty police officer Ralph Gillet and a small group of women was apparently over a seat on the boat. According to a report from another media house Gillet was denied the seat because the woman who was sitting next to it was discriminatory towards him since he is openly gay. The woman’s sister who was also on the boat said that could not be further from the truth.”
Sister of the Woman: “They were boarding the boat and the passengers were going on the boat. Everyone had sat already but this guy and four of his friends; when he walked on we were already sitting down. They reached on the boat last because the boat takes a certain amount of passengers and we were already seated. He came in with four of his friends: two came first and two were left out because they were behind the line so now we sat down. I sat down over there, then my two little sisters sat down on the other side with the young man and his two friends. My sister got up out of her seat to go and use the bathroom, my sister is holding the seat because the boat is crowded and she does not want anyone to take her seat so she went to the bathroom. The young man came when his two friends came on the boat and said sit right here. My sister said he can’t sit there because my little sister is sitting there and she just went to the bathroom, he is like the girl did you not hear, sit ******* there. My sister said sarcastically okay you sit here then, you sit here. He just bursted out you are a *****, you big baggy ****, this and that, to tell you the truth he was drunk. People are saying it is because he was gay, we have gay friends, I have gay friends that live right upstairs here, we were raised with gay friends so I don’t have any problem to say I discriminate no gay because I am not like that and we are not like that.”
Courtney Menzies: “The sister who chose not to reveal her identity said that Gillet attacked her family first. He reportedly kicked her sister and her mom causing injuries to her mom’s eye.”
Sister of the Woman: “He just started to kick up in the crowd and it was then that he and my sister got into a problem. My mom went there to try and part them, he just stomped my mom two times in the face and caused my mom to have a bloodshed in her eye.”
Courtney Menzies: “Not only did this incident come right on the heels at the end of pride month but it also came at the end of police week. Following the video of the fight came another video showing another officer administering a rare naked chokehold on Gillet putting him in an unconscious state. After he lost consciousness at the end of the video shows another officer slapping him. Throughout this the passengers on the boat are hurling homophobic slurs at Gillet.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ops & Crime – Edward Broaster: “Those incidents that occurred in Caye Caulker are being investigated by the Caye Caulker police as well as the Professional Standards Branch. We are investigating the incident as it relates to the police officer that had a fight with passengers of the water taxi as well as the incident subsequent to that incident where the officer was choked and detained. There were several interventions to prevent several outbursts on the vessel and the officer subsequently subdued the individual who was belligerent in fighting with the passengers in the boat so I would not associate that with no hate crime. As it pertains to the chokehold we have not sanctioned that particular defense technique, nevertheless, the officer that hit him after will be dealt with disciplinary wise.”
To add insult to injury, the fight on the boat was apparently not the only altercation Gillet was involved in that weekend. According to the woman we spoke to, she witnessed Gillet in an argument with another woman on the island that same day. That fight had reportedly led to the police releasing pepper spray in the area. /////////