Twenty-year-old Cristo Rey resident Derrick Uh suffered an unfortunate death when he was placed in a police prison van and forgotten. He spent almost fourteen hours inside that made which led to him suffering a heat stroke. His death and the police officers’ heinous and criminal neglect attracted public condemnation. Four officers were criminally charged with manslaughter by negligence. Uh’s death also sparked a demand for the Police Department to cease using the prison van. Today, Police Commissioner Chester Williams confirmed that the vans are still in use but are being retrofitted for “local circumstances”.
Chester Williams, Commissioner, Belize Police Department: “The other police prison vans are still being used at this time. We have commissioned a group of officers to look at the way how the vans are structured and to see how in any way we can retrofit these vans to be able to fit our local circumstance. As I said before, we should be getting two of those vans in very shortly again and when those two come in we are not going to utilize them until we can look at how we can retrofit them to suit our circumstances and I will then invite the Human Rights Commission to be a part of that team to look at how best we can have the van structured in order to suit the human needs of persons who are being ferried in any enclosed vehicle.”