Cop shot handicapped prisoner in the forehead?
Police have shot dead another citizen in their custody.
Alex Goff, 31, of Mopan St., Belize City, is dead, shot to death in the Caye Caulker Police Station detention cell, by a constable. A police press release dated today, Monday, and sent late this evening, says that “Reference to the report of the shooting death of Alex Goff, police have arrested and charged Alpheus Parham, 33, P. C. #437 for the crime of murder.”
Eyewitnesses tell Amandala that Goff was at the Lazy Lizard Bar on the North Side of Caye Caulker known as “Split”, and he was drinking until 5 p.m. yesterday, Sunday. One tourist told us that Goff was incessantly getting on his case, and would not leave him alone. This tourist told us that Goff continued to annoy him in his drunken state for about five to ten minutes until Goff spilled his drink on the tourist.
The tourist went on to tell us that it was at this time that the bartender at the Lazy Lizard got into what was fast escalating into a confrontation, as he tried to get Goff off the bar’s premises. With the help of Goff’s friend who was also there, the bartender convinced Goff to leave.
The tourist noted that it was around that time that someone from the bar called the police and reported Goff’s drunken, disorderly behavior.
According to the friend who was with Goff, and also eyewitnesses who saw Goff and his friend exit the Lazy Lizard’s premises, Goff started speaking to another tourist, but in a seemingly calm manner, not disorderly as he was reportedly behaving at the bar.
It was at this time that several police officers came and tried to apprehend Goff. Both the friend and the eyewitnesses say that the police officers were being disrespectful and Goff responded in kind, and one of the officers hit him in the face.
Having been hit, Goff responded by hitting this officer back.
According to the eyewitnesses, the officers then started to punch Goff in his face, as if to subdue him. One of the officers even grabbed him around the neck, while the others continued to beat him in the face.
Goff then spoke to the officers, saying, “Alright, alright, I gwen wit unu willingly, freely; unu noh have to beat me inna mih face!”
According the witnesses, the policemen then handcuffed Goff to the golf cart, the only police mobile unit on the island, and kept punching him when he could do nothing to defend himself, and then drove off.
One witness say that one of the police officers kept repeating, “Wait till yoh reach station, watch weh wah happen to yoh”.
This same police officer, the eyewitness said, had bruised his hand from all the hitting he had done to Goff.
Sergeant #358, Leslie Wade, told us that Goff was placed in a holding cell inside the police station, and it was about close to an hour later that a police officer on duty heard a shot. According to Leslie, this police officer went to investigate and found Goff in a sitting position, with a bullet in his forehead. This officer also noted PC Parham exiting the cellblock; he put his .38 revolver inside this on-duty officer’s desk, and then exited the station.
According to Wade, there was no weapon of any sort inside the cell in which Goff was killed.
Amandala was not allowed to visit the cellblock because according to Wade, it was presently being treated as a crime scene.
The official police statement says that the body was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where a post-mortem was scheduled to be done. The police statement also says, “As is customary when a shooting involves a police officer, the Office of Internal Affairs and Discipline is conducting an intensive investigation. Officer Parham is detained pending charges.”
The family and friends of Alex Goff are angry at the Police Department, and they are vehemently demanding justice for Goff’s death. Karen Massiah, Goff’s sister, says that the police have not given them any information about the details of the events that led up to his shooting. She said that the police have avoided her under the cloak of the excuse,”The investigation is ongoing, and we can’t speak about the details”.
She said she called the Police Department in Caye Caulker and she was directed to speak to the Belize City Branch. She said that she then called the Belize City Police Department and they directed her to call the Caye Caulker Branch.
Massiah said that she got frustrated and told the police officer on the phone that she has already called the Caye Caulker Branch, and she said that it took a bit of convincing to get this officer to tell her that Inspector Romero from the Criminal Investigation Branch is in charge of the investigation.
According to the post-mortem report that the police provided after the examination today, the cause of Goff’s death was “trauma to the head due to massive brain damage due to gunshot wound”.
According to her, when she and her family went to speak to Inspector Romero, he also gave her the “It’s an ongoing investigation” routine. He didn’t give them much information, and she was forced to listen in on a conversation that Romero was having, where she got confirmation of little details. She said that all the information she has comes from the media, and that the Police Department is avoiding them, when all they really want to know what has happened to Goff.
The friends that Goff stayed with in Caye Caulker told Amandala that they don’t trust the police department due to this and earlier incidents of corruption. They said that Goff was handicapped ,which, Goff’s sister confirmed, was due to a chop wound he received to the head that caused him to suffer paralysis on the right side of his body. He walked with a limp. The family says that he still hadn’t recover full use of his right hand, either.
There is only one of the four Goff brothers still alive, because Alex Goff was predeceased by Kenard Goff and Jerome Goff.
These friends also said that the PC Parham was drunk and that all of these officers that came to detain him were in civilian clothes. They said that after the shooting, all the officers went to put on their uniforms before the officers from Belize City and San Pedro reportedly arrived on the scene.
According to these friends, there were two other prisoners, which they know for a fact, who were also in the cellblock at the time of the shooting, and they may be able to provide evidence to help the investigation, but they were moved from the island to the San Pedro Police Station. The police have denied that there was anyone else around at the time of the shooting.
To date there are four documented police killings for the year 2010: Elmore Neal of Central American Boulevard who was killed on March 6, Anthony O’Neil Jones, a Jamaican immigrant living in Lords Bank who was killed on February 14, Corporal 910 Gavin Sanchez of Belize City who was also killed in the police station, but at San Pedro on March 18, and Alex Goff.