With the results of the post mortem examination on Ulysease Roca, it is uncertain whether the Professional Standards Branch will pursue its investigation into the alleged abuse conducted two weeks ago. What is for certain, however, is that the Commissioner is probing into a video that was made of Roca inside the police station. The video went on social media and took on a life of its own as it was shared multiple times. Commissioner Williams explained that the making of the video went against the department’s internal policy.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Now there are some internal issues that need to be addressed. I have been told of a video that was recorded inside precinct two police station when the young man was detained and again I cannot understand why will police be videoing an arrested person on their cell phone, making fun of people and then the video end up in the public domain. I have a serious issue with that. We have a cell phone policy and even though when that cell phone policy was signed into law for police some members of the public had issues over it, that the commissioner is trying to control this and control that but these are the kind of behaviors that we foresaw why we decided to implement the cell phone policy. Police officers should not be taking their cellphones to record people and make a mockery of people. Whatever lifestyle Mr.Roca lived, that is his business and that should be no reason for police or anyone to make fun of him or to bully him. Regardless of who he was, his lifestyle, he was a human being just like all of us and is entitled to the same fundamental rights and freedom that all of us are entitled to and that should be respected and so where that video is concerned that police took and put on social media I have directed Professional Standards Branch to inquire into it and the chips will fall where they may. When the post mortem is over and the doctor tells us what is the cause of death we will see what angle the investigation will go but Mr.Cowo can tell you that the investigation has started, it’s just that we don’t know yet if it is a murder or otherwise, the post mortem will tell us that. That is where we are with that matter involving Mr.Roca.”
According to Williams, there were several officers at the station when Roca was detained.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “He alleged that he was hit by the police, may I say that he did not make an official report to the police of him being hit. I was made aware of it when I saw the video last night that he went live, that is when I saw he said that he was hit. I since then contacted professional standards branch and inquired if an official complaint was made and they confirmed to me that none was made. I also checked with the different precinct commanders in Belize City and they also said that no report was made by Mr.Roca so we knew nothing of him being hit by police officers while he was in custody. Yes we know who they are, we have two police officers who made the detention and there were other officers at the station where he was brought. Now we’re not saying that it was the officers who made the detention who videoed him, neither we are saying that it was them who beat him if we he was hit but we know who the officers were who were inside the station at that particular given time.”
Reporter: They’ve been questioned already?
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “That is being done by Professional Standards Branch yes. Well the taking of the video is surely a violation of our cellphone policy and the conduct of taking the video and putting it out there is an act of prejudice to good order and discipline and so those are the two charges that we’re looking at at this time if we can narrow down who exactly took the video.”
We will keep following this story.