Trio of Cops For Murder
Three police officers in San Pedro were charged for murder following the vicious beat down of Bartender 30 year old Edwin Ixpatac. At around 4 pm today three of them were shamefully paraded to the magistrate's court in Belize City where they were read charges of murder. They are Police Constables Reydel Teck, Romelio Logan, and Jahsimir Cob. But just what lead the Police Department to criminally charge three of their own? Emanuel Pech reports.
30 year old Edwin Ixpatac, a resident of Cayo began working as a bartender here at Caprice Bar and Grill a couple years ago. On a regular day he would be here serving drinks for guests at Holiday Hotel and other visitors who frequent this bar.
Jonathan Garcia- Bartender, Caprice Bar and Grill
"All of us worked as a team and so we try to make everything go good throughout the day. He was a hard working person."
And just what made him such an excellent worker? Well his four year old daughter was his biggest motivation.
Patricia Romero - Waitress, Caprice Bar and Grill
"He actually has a 4 year old daughter. This month she was going to complete 4 years old. He wanted 2 days off which we talked a lot about that and he was going to plan a small little party for her and that was his plan. He really loved his daughter very much and I think that's why he was working very hard."
But all those plans came to nothing when we he died yesterday morning as a result of injuries received during a vicious beat down on Thursday.
There were indications that he had been drinking at the pier at Banyan Bay and was acting disorderly. Two on duty police officers responded to the scene and found him next to the sea wall; injured.
But he was not taken directly to the polyclinic. Instead he was detained until Friday morning when authorities realized he was lying in his cell unconscious. He was taken to the poly clinic and later transported to KHMH where he died.
The matter would have ended there but strong evidence including video footage suggested that he was abused by three officers and as the post mortem revealed - he died from a blunt to the head which investigators believed he received during his detention.
ACP Bernard Lino - Head of Professional Standards Branch
"From our point what we had done, we had placed the 3 officers and their supervisor Sgt. Berry on interdiction, because the sergeant was the person who was in charge of the police station. So he have been interdicted along with the 3 constables. Besides that, I have placed them disciplinary charges which are prejudice to good order and discipline for the act that they have committed against the now deceased Mr. Ixpatac."
Then there was the criminal aspect of the case, which lead investigators to charge three of the four men for murder.
Sup. Hilberto Romero - O C, CIB, Eastern Division
"Several statements have been recorded. The video footage has been reviewed. A post mortem has been conducted by Dr. Mario Estradabran and at this point there is sufficient evidence and we have now proceeded to charged 3 of these officers for murder. They are Reydel Teck, Romelio Logan, and Jahsimir Cob - all police constables attached to the San Pedro police formation."
This is another heavy blow to the image that police department has strived to build since Hilberto Sotz's murder in 2015 which sparked a rage of controversy.
ASP Desiree Phillips- O C, Eastern North Division
"The Ministry of National Security of course and the police department is very saddened by this incident. We know that a lot of persons have been hurt by this incident, not only the family and friends of the deceased for which we offer our deepest condolence, but as well the family of the police officers and the community of San Pedro and the wider society is also grieving and hurting by an incident like this. But I just want to assure the general public that the police department is doing everything in our powers to ensure that a fair, swift and transparent investigation is being conducted as you see here today."
Sister of Deceased
"After this we need do another, because I don't feel like this is just a process. The people who did this are still standing there, but my brother is not there anymore."
Reporting for 7 news Emanuel Pech
Authorities have confirmed that there was administrative neglect on the part of Sergeant Raymond Berry, the officer in Command who will be dealt with internally. Meanwhile friends and family of the deceased are planning a peace rally this week in memory of Edwin Ixpatac.
3 San Pedro Cops Charged for Murder of Bartender
In the prime tourism destination of San Pedro Ambergris Caye, two persons were murdered adding to the list of homicide statistics since the beginning of the year. A Cayo resident was brutally beaten allegedly by three police officers on Friday and passed away on Monday morning after slipping into a coma and undergoing two rounds of surgery. Edwin Ixpatac sustained severe injuries to the head and abdomen. Late this afternoon, three officers were charged for his murder. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Three police officers attached to the San Pedro Police Department were late this evening arraigned for the murder of twenty-nine year old Cayo resident, Edwin Ixpatac on San Pedro. It is believed that Police Constables Reydel Teck, Jahsimir Cob and Romelio Logan assaulted the Caprice Bar and Grill waiter on Friday morning. He appeared to be intoxicated when he was detained on the beach near the Villas of Banyan Bay. Ixpatac was taken to the San Pedro Police Station.
Supt. Hilberto Romero, O.C., CIB
“We have conducted an investigation into this matter, several statements have been recorded, the video footage has been reviewed, a post mortem has been conducted by Doctor Mario Estradabran and at this point there is sufficient evidence and we have now pursued to charge three of these officers for murder. Sometime around one a.m., San Pedro Police responded to a report of a male person behaving disorderly in the water in front of a pier; two police officers initially responded. At some point, there was a back and forth with the two officers and the now deceased Edwin Ixpatac. He was then removed from the water, handcuffed and taken to the San Pedro Police station. While at the police station, efforts were being made to take off a handcuff from his hands…one of the hands was removed and the other could not be removed. At some point there was a confrontation between the deceased and three officers attached to the San Pedro Police Station. We have the incident on video footage. The male person was then placed inside the cell block and at some point between six-thirty and seven a.m. on the said Friday, he was found unconscious in the cell block.”
According to his coworkers, they became concerned about Ixpatac when he didn’t show up to work on Friday.
Jonathan Garcia, Waiter, Caprice Bar & Grill
“On Friday morning, half an hour passed and then an hour passed and he didn’t show up so we started making calls and we decided to call the police station because we were trying to figure out what happened. They informed us that he was arrested the night before.”
A critically injured Ixpatac was rushed to the Doctor Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic before being transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Ixpatac later slipped into a coma before he died around eleven-thirty on Monday morning. A post mortem confirmed that the waiter died from blunt trauma to the head and abdomen, believed to be as a result of the assault by the officers.
Patricia Romero, Waitress, Caprice Bar & Grill
“When they transferred him to the K.H.M.H., they had to go under operation because he had severe bleeding in his head. So to take out all that blood from his head, they did perform a surgery. And on Saturday as well, the bleeding did not stop so they performed another surgery. So he underwent two surgeries on his head.”
“It would mean that he was really beaten badly both in the head and the abdomen.”
“Both in the head and in the abdomen. I actually got the news on Saturday that he went into coma and the only thing he had was the life support and without the life support then he would have died.”
The charges came following simultaneous investigations from the CIB and the Professional Standards Branch of the Police Department. The internal investigation indicated that there was administrative neglect and as a result a fourth officer and supervisor, Sergeant Berry was placed on interdiction.
ACP Keith Lino, Professional Standards Branch
“We have placed the three officers and their supervisor, Sergeant Berry on interdiction because the Sergeant was the person who was in charge at the Police Station. So he was interdicted along with the three constables. Besides that, I have placed them on disciplinary charges which are prejudice to good order and discipline for the act that they have committed against the now deceased Mister Ixpatac.”
His friends and former coworkers at Caprice Bar and Grill reminisced on his personality.
“The most I will remember about Edwin is his smile. He really had a charismatic smile. He was a nice coworker; I would consider him a friend as well. Anything that we needed from Edwin, he would do anything possible for us to receive help in anything we needed.”
“He was a very good person, very friendly, you can get along with him very good and well a very good coworker.”
Overwhelmed, Romero was saddened by the fact that Ixpatac passed away alone.
“The saddest part of everything is that he died alone. We still can’t get information of how he arrived from the Polyclinic to the K.H.M.H. Well we haven’t gotten that information as yet. And it is sad because he was lonely. When he passed away there was no one in the room except for the doctor; he and the doctor.”
Duane Moody for News Five.
When the men appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, no plea was taken; they were denied bail and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until May ninth.