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    Posted May 3, 2012 by
    Central America

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    Belize, GSU Police taking the law into their own hands

    Reading between the lines, I am beginning to form an opinion that the Gang Suppression Unit is poorly trained and out of control, and is fast becoming an untouchable 'hit squad' that thinks it is not accountable for its actions. Or perhaps they have been watching too many 'cop' shows on television.
    Recently the GSU did a dawn raid on Mike Menjivar's house in Belmopan. The raid was based upon an anonymous tip off. I have a few problems with this, as Mike has to put up with a lot of disgruntled people who are ejected from his night club for drunkenness, abusive behaviour and drug taking. Any one of these people could have made a malicious tip off leading to the debacle that followed. Indeed, many people with a grudge may have been motivated to attack him whilst he was sleeping.
    It seems that the GSU turned up in unmarked vehicles and were trying to gain entry to Mike's house. Mike was woken up by telephone by his watchman at the Cabana night club which is a matter of telephone record. What happened next depends on who you speak to, but I have to say that the versions from eye witnesses and neighbours, as well as Mike and his wife have far more of a ring of truth to them than the story being touted by the Police.
    In both cases there was an exchange of gunfire, with 12 rounds out of the house and hundreds into it. Mike's dogs were shot, the house was ransacked, and Mike was given a sustained beating, breaking his nose and his jaw. Both his wife and children as well as their housekeeper were put in extreme danger. The Police say they only started shooting after Mike had opened fire. Everyone else says they shot the dogs first, then tried to shoot the lock from the gate, then started with sledge hammers on the front door, before Mike started his defence by shooting through the door.
    The police say they identified themselves. Everyone else says they didn't until very much later after the shooting began. What is also troubling is that two or more phone calls were made to the Police in Belmopan who stated categorically that the people outside Mike's house were not police as the police knew where all their police were, and none of them were at Mike's house trying to break down the door. The Belmopan Police also told the family not to open the door under any circumstances until whoever it was would identify themselves. Apparently when asked, the GSU refused to give any identification whatsoever except shouting 'Police'.
    The house was then ransacked. The Police say it was searched, but I can see no reason to deliberately smash ornaments or to break furniture. I have been told that the house was deliberately trashed to send a message. The 'search' turned up nothing illegal whatsoever. Fifteen thousand US dollars was removed from the house. I wonder if it has become a crime to have money?
    Police have to tread a very fine line between entering a property and executing a search before evidence is destroyed. At all times I think they should be visible and their actions transparent. I have seen no evidence whatsoever that the GSU operated in this manner at all.
    I also firmly believe there is no need whatsoever to beat a man once he has surrendered and indeed has been handcuffed. I believe that there can be no reason to deny someone medical treatment for four hours after he has been beaten. I can see no earthly reason why Mike's pregnant wife and his housekeeper should be incarcerated just because they happened to be present. All in all I think that with all that I have heard I have formed the opinion that the GSU has acted shamefully in this instance and must be held accountable for wanton destruction of property, and grievous bodily harm. i think that they should also inform local police of their actions, be it only minutes before they perform them. All in all, it is actions like this that cause the general public to lose all confidence in the Police.
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