Earlier today our newsroom was sent a video of police officers man handling a man, Benedict Lopez who was at the Belize Marine Terminal. In the video Lopez was seen arguing with the officers about him not wearing a mask. Lopez appeared as resisting arrest as three officers tried to restrain him. Love News spoke with the Lopez’s stepson, Kirklynn Usher who believes that the police officers used excessive force on his father.
Kirkling Usher, Stepson: “They told me that he had pulled down his mask to say something to a lady that was sitting six feet away because she couldn’t hear what he was saying and the police officers approached him and I sent a video that has the first part of that with all that happening and he put back his mask up as you can see in the video he told the officers “My mask is on. I was just saying something to the lady and then I pulled my mask down.” I mean it wasn’t even completely off it was just pulled down and then placed back up. And then in the second portion of the video you’ll see where he told the officers “Okay I’ll go with you.” and he started walking with them but they started haul and pulling him and then one of them grabbed him and slammed him on the ground and from there the altercation started. I think too often we see where there’s these kinds of force being used where it’s highly unnecessary. I mean I expect a police officer to use force if they feel like their life is being threatened, if somebody is literally hitting them or stuff like that but if somebody says “I will go with you.” that is clear indication this person is complying with you, you don’t need to start pulling them and so forth if the individual says “I will go with you.” and also this is a senior citizen in society so to see them treat somebody like that it’s completely unnecessary and there definitely needs to be some attention being brought to it because it’s just gonna keep happening over and over.”
Usher also explained that his father will be charged for not wearing a mask and resisting arrest.
Kirkling Usher, Stepson: “Currently he is at the police station, one of the precincts there in Belize City. Someone did go over there to set bail for him and so forth and they told him over an hour ago they said that he was going to be able to come out and make bail in about one hour they were just processing him- well they came out later on and said that he has to stay in until tomorrow. Well tomorrow is a holiday so you nothing can’t be done until Friday so I mean it’s just little things like these that just shows -I’m trying to refrain from using a negative word but there’s not enough organization and stuff like that and you don’t just put somebody in jail and then say okay we’ll let you out whenever we can that’s not exactly how that works and so if they said he was supposed to make bail in an hour then within an hour time if we had somebody there to sign him out and the person was there then they should have released him at the time. They did say they were going to charge him for not wearing a mask and then resisting arrest which I mean the mask was clearly right at the bottom of his face and in the first video he had his mask on so it’s not one of those instances where somebody was walking without a mask and if you watch the video closely you’ll see during the altercation one of the police officers he was not wearing a mask but it’s not about casting out stones to who is this or who is that I just believe three police officers excessively slamming him on the ground and kicking him is just unnecessary and we’ve seen it too much in Belize and I feel this is not one that we’re just gonna let go just completely unanswered.”
Usher is appealing to the Police Department to look into the matter and address the police’s approach.