Dyandre Chee Family’s Can Sue for Wrongful Death
Two police officers have been charged with the murder of 19-year-old Trial Farm Village resident Dyandre Chee. They are Esmin Flores and Salomen Cowo. The officers were remanded to the Belize Central Prison until their next court appearance on July 26. They are accused of fatally shooting Chee during a high-speed chase on Saturday night in Orange Walk Town. Police Commissioner Chester Williams has conceded that the officers used excessive force. While the officers have been charged with the crime, the family is demanding justice as the prosecution puts together its case against the officers. As the family awaits the progress of the criminal case, they can launch a civil suit against the Belize Police Department for wrongful death. Attorney Nazira Myles has successfully sued the department several times over police abuse, excessive force, and malicious prosecution. According to Myles, the Chee family can successfully sue the department for wrongful death.
Nazira Myles, Attorney-at-Law: “When I read the initial reports my first thought was were these individuals their hands should have been swabbed for gun powder residue, these are simple things that a police officer should know who is investigating. If you claim that they were shooting back at you there must be something there. Another red flag is that no firearm is alleged to have been found on the scene being used by these individuals. Now the issue as to the body cam you send off four police officers with one body cam. I understand you’re short on having body cams but if let’s say they separate under pursuit and two officers go left while the other two stay at the mobile how will that body cam on the person who is in charge of the team be able to record what’s happening with those that went left ? So I do think that it’s the lack of resources when it comes to the body cam so I don’t know if at this moment having one individual the leader with a body cam would really be able to reflect what occurred whether it was turned off or not it’s just my opinion that at this point it would not matter because if it’s not the officer who directly pursued the deceased then whether it was turned off or not really does not play a role in my opinion right ? And I don’t know if you would say excessive force because in the circumstances I don’t think any force should have been used at all even if you were pursuing these individuals there must have been some back up call or some other way that you could get back up to intercept them at some other section. I just feel that there was more action if the officers had knowledge of how to deal with these high pursuits that could have been taken as opposed to just shooting after these individuals and you can’t tell me that you’re firing shots at these individuals and not bearing in mind or having being cognizant that there is a possibility that you will hit them and there’s a possibility that he might die. So I think the result is a direct consequence of the decision that the police officer took.”
Reporter: Does the Chee family have an air tight case to sue for wrongful death ?
Nazira Myles, Attorney-at-Law: “I do believe so from what I heard like I said I haven’t seen the entire file, I don’t know what additional there may be after a specific team was assigned to investigate but from the news reports there’s definitely a case that they can pursue.”