A police constable was beaten over the weekend in rural Cayo District. The allegations are that the assault against 39-year-old Mark Rodriguez has to do with a dispute over land in Camalote Village that was passed down to his wife, Krista Zelaya. Cayo Correspondent Fem Cruz was at the courthouse in Belmopan this morning where Police Constable Mark Rodriguez was arraigned on charges of breaching curfew, indecent words, failure to provide a specimen, reckless driving and assaulting a police officer.
Fem Cruz, Cayo Correspondent: 39-year-old police constable 1231 Mark Rodriguez attached to the Belmopan Police sub formation and a resident of Camalote Village Cayo district is claiming police brutality. According to Constable Rodriguez the incident happened this past Saturday night sometime around 7:05 p.m. Rodriguez explained.
Mark Rodriguez, Police Officer: “I was coming from Unitedville Village which is my mom’s house heading to Camalote Village where my common law and my daughter live. Going through the feeder road to the direction of my wife’s house a black pickup driven at the time by Assistant Superintendent of Police along with his son, his wife was in the truck. So they stopped me took me out of the vehicle put me in my passenger seat and his son drove my vehicle to my house. Whilst at my house they told me to go inside and tomorrow I could get my vehicle but I said for what reason? So I saw the son reversing my truck that’s why I ran out and told them that was my property. I think that is what got them offended because I told them if anything happened to my vehicle I would sue you all personally for my property and that’s when I see he went and three or four minutes he was back along with Corporal Warrior and another police office from Roaring Creek police station. They came and well they grabbed me, threw me into the back of the vehicle his son drove off with my vehicle to I don’t know where. Right in front of my house that is where the police brutality started I started getting beat up by these officers, they have witness because there are people who videoed what took place. Whilst coming out by the roundabout by Quality in Belmopan here heading toward the station he took his hand, his whole hand and squeezed my windpipe because I was trying to holler for someone to help me because of the police brutality. I got my hand all swollen up, by now it has gone down, my neck as you can see I got some scratches where he grabbed me and that’s when he said “Stop. Stop. Stop a vehicle is right behind we” because I was waving for the vehicle at the back for them to see what is happening or try to help me. So they put me flat in the pan of the truck and he kneeled down in my throat and my groin because I have some problems right now with urine. Well I received a total of six charges. One is reckless driving, the other one is harm that’s upon Aaron Gamboa ASP, assaulting a police officer same thing against Aaron Gamboa, unable to provide reason for movement outside of curfew however it was just about 7:05 I know the curfew should be on until 7:59 but that’s a charge, fail to provide specimen which is blood or urine I had already parked my vehicle and I was in my house.”
Fem Cruz, Cayo Correspondent: But officer Rodriguez tell us what you think actually triggered off this.
Mark Rodriguez, Police Officer: “That’s where the whole scenario start from because my common law wife Ms.Crystal Zelaya, nurse working at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan are having some land issues which is about to go in front of the court and from since that I think it was two three weeks back they just started targeting my vehicle provoking us everywhere he meets us but I didn’t think it would have gone this far.”
The man being accused of targeting Rodriguez is one of his superiors, Assistant Superintendent of Police Aaron Gamboa. Gamboa says nothing can be further from the truth. He says he actually tried to help Rodriguez but instead of being appreciated he was verbally and physically assaulted. Gamboa presented a video to Love News that we are unable to air due to the incessant obscenity. We can tell you, however, that Rodriguez was caught on camera issuing expletives to Gamboa and the other officers. As for the physical assault rendered to him by Rodriguez, or vice versa, no such video has been forthcoming.
In October 2016 Rodriguez was brutally beaten and received grave injuries to his brain. Those injuries reportedly prevent him from consuming alcohol but does cause him to become easily outraged and tempermental. Love News met up with Rodriguez minutes after he concluded a doctor visit.
Alisha Valentine, Love FM News: The reports of you being intoxicated while driving can you attest to that ?
Mark Rodriguez, Claims Police Brutality: ” No. That’s a lie. Anybody if you go for someone and you try to arrest them wrongfully or unlawfully anybody would get mad. So that’s what he probably he looked at me and watched how I looked in my eyes because I was made and giving trouble because then you were taking me for no reason. I’m a police officer just like them so that part that he spoke about drunk. Again the corporal that charged me because it wasn’t Gamboa that charged me he looked like he used the corporal to level all the charges on me so the corporal told me he said “I will charge you for driving under the influence.” I told him no, I told him when Mr.Gamboa left and came back I was in my house did you see me driving ? I told him I would not give them no blood nor urine because you didn’t caught me driving. Why would I give blood or urine when you didn’t catch me driving ?”
Rodriguez was granted bail of five hundred dollars and is due back in court on July 22 to answer to the charges. We will have much more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.