Family Claims Wrongful Arrest and Victimization of Minor in Belize City Stabbing Incident
The family of a 14-year-old minor, who is in police custody, claims he was wrongfully arrested, victimized by a media house, and beaten during a stabbing incident, over the weekend in Belize City. Police stated that on Saturday the minor approached two brothers, ages 15 and 16-year-olds, and stabbed one of the young men during a fistfight. But, the victim’s family says the police’s investigations were poor and portrayed a false narrative that paints him as the aggressor. The family claims the minor, who recently graduated from primary school, was attacked and viciously beaten, which led to him defending himself. Today, their attorney, Norman Rodriquez, chastised the police for what he called a lazy investigation, and racial targeting of his client.
Norman Rodriguez, Attorney: “The story that is put out by one media house I would have to call it irresponsible reporting because what that reporter has put in his story is conclusive. He is saying that the 14 year old approached the young man who was stabbed and ended up in an altercation with him. If the police would do a proper investigation and even the reporters would do a proper investigation at least one eyewitness who was less than ten feet away from what was happening has given his version and that has come to my ear. I am not saying that that is conclusive but if an eyewitness comes forward then at least those who are going to make stories out of what happened and those who are going to charge should at least interview that witness or find out the truth. The 14 year old was attending to his own business in a conversation with somebody. This is what the eyewitness says. He wasn’t interfering with anybody., he was not the aggressor, he was approached by the virtual complainant allegedly or as the eyewitness says he was attacked by the virtual complainant punched multiple times and in that state what do you do if somebody bigger than you and you’re a Hispanic in Belize and we’re not gonna hide the truth and a dark skinned young man, two of them, they cornered him apparently and one of them started punching him and when he was down he decided to react and I can’t say exactly what happened but he ran away and he was chased further by these two young men for whatever reason. So that is the version that at least one eyewitness has been giving and I’m saying that it is incumbent upon the police to do proper investigation. I have continuously said to them Vejea that why will you go and detain somebody before you do a proper investigation ? “
Rodriguez says his client may be facing charges of attempted murder and explained the negative impacts such a charge would have on his young life.
Norman Rodriguez, Attorney: “He’s 14 years old. He’s thinking about trying to enter high school at this point and it has an overall impact on him, negative impact because the perception first of all is that at age 14 he would be said to have been committed a serious crime as attempted murder and on top of that his life may now be in danger because if he walks on the street who knows if these people are going to attack him. I understand, and I’m just saying I understand from his parents that somebody went after them with a gun and they had to make a report because they were following them to see if they would lead them to the young man I believe. So and that is only this young man, what happens to his family now ? They would have lost the presence and what he does for them as as young person moving around for his mother and his father. So there are lots of effects in that and I do understand that video footage should be available because I’m sure right there at Pound Yard many people have cameras installed and I think that he did mention to me that the police could have done that. So again it goes to the poor investigation that the police is doing. While you might not be afraid to take a chance with the freedom of a hardened criminal you don’t do that to a 14 year old who has never been charged for any crime, doesn’t even appear in any police bulletin or anything related to crime and so on. He has no history of unruly behavior, no delinquent behavior, no criminal activity but this is what you’re going to do to a young person.”
The victim’s family says they are hoping for justice to prevail in order for their loved one, who they say is being re-victimized, can continue living a normal life.