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Re: Reporter claims Coast Guard used unnecessary force [Re: Marty] #478200
11/23/13 03:45 PM
11/23/13 03:45 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 174
Mostly Canada / Sometimes Bel...
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Keller Offline
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Is it against the law to photograph police, BDF, GSU or Coast Guard? It might be handy for tourists to know the rules so they don't find themselves in a similar situation as Jorge.

Re: Reporter claims Coast Guard used unnecessary force [Re: Marty] #478236
11/24/13 04:18 AM
11/24/13 04:18 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,247
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Media Worker Still Alleges Belize Coast Guard Used Excessicve Force Against Him

Beachside north Ambergris CayeBelize Coast Guard Boat in CombatOn Monday, we told you of a shootout between the Belize National Coast Guard and suspected drug peddlers, north of Ambergris Caye, near the Belize/Mexico border.  One of the perpetrators was wounded in the cross fire and transported to the a local Polyclinic.  While that was the central story, what occurred on the way back from the clinic made headlines.

Senior Reporter at the San Pedro, Sun Jorge Aldana, whom the Newspaper assigned to cover the incident, claims that members of the Coast Guard assaulted him.

vlcsnap-2013-11-20-18h58m12s146SanPedro Sun Newspaper picWhen we contacted the Vice Commandant, Commander, Elton Bennett, he informed us that the incident was being investigated by the Coast Guard, San Pedro Police and the San Pedro Sun.  The news outlet too had the same response, affirming that a statement would be released after adequate information was gathered.  Well yesterday, Editor Tamara Sniffin, issued a lengthy report, recounting what allegedly took place.  According to Mr. Aldana, he followed a police truck transporting officers and two civilians from the clinic.  He snapped several photographs of the individuals in the pan of the truck, but was shortly pulled over and approached by three Coast Guard Officers.  Here’s what he describes on what happened next :

vlcsnap-2013-11-23-12h34m28s2Cmmander elton bennnettSenior Reporter at the San Pedro Sun Jorge Aldana

” Three of the Coast Guards pointed their rifles at me and one approached me and asked what I was doing. I identified myself as a senior reporter with The San Pedro Sun Newspaper. I was then told to put my hands over my head.”

Mr. Aldana claims that one of the officers confiscated both of his cell phones, removed the chip from the Digicel phone, put it into his phone and then returned it to Aldana. The officer then reportedly deleted all of the contacts from Aldana’s SMART phone.  He says they then asked me to lay on the ground, and put his hands on the back of my head.  Aldana claims that during the ordeal, he was repeatedly threatened and cursed at.  While on the ground, the officers allegedly rummaged through his personal items, which were on his golf cart.  He recounts  “Another Coast Guard officer went through my carrier bag placed of my golf cart, removing everything.  While he tried to figure out how to delete the photos on my camera, I turned my head to look at what he was doing.   Then, the Coast Guard holding the gun to my head used the point of the rifle to push my face away from observing what was happening.”  They Ambergris Birds eye view picvlcsnap-2013-11-18-18h53m09s142eventually removed the chip from his camera.  When Aldana Mr. visited the Police Station about an hour later, the memory card from his camera was returned to him and all photographs were deleted.  Meanwhile, statements from at least one other officer who witnessed the incident challenges Mr. Aldana’s version.  He claims that while Aldana was instructed to put his hands over his head and searched, at no time did the Coast Guard pull their guns on Aldana and that he was not asked to lay on the ground.  The San Pedro Sun says it continues to work closely with the Belize Coast Guard on investigating the matter.

PlusTV


Re: Reporter claims Coast Guard used unnecessary force [Re: wolfeel2000] #478248
11/24/13 06:43 AM
11/24/13 06:43 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 515
Florida, Belize, Noerth Caroli...
CaptOneIron Offline
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It was just a comment. I didn't express any opinion at all.


Captain One Iron
Re: Reporter claims Coast Guard used unnecessary force [Re: Marty] #479198
12/07/13 04:23 AM
12/07/13 04:23 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,247
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Coast Guard apologizes to San Pedro Sun’s reporter

Rear Admiral Johnny Borland, Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, extended an apology to senior reporter of the San Pedro Sun newspaper, Jorge Aldana, after he reported of intimidation by members of the Coast Guard in San Pedro on Saturday, November 16.

The apology was made by Commandant Borland on Friday in San Pedro. Aldana told Amandala that he accepted the apology from the Coast Guard, and considers the matter closed.

The apology came after an investigation was carried out by the Coast Guard, the police, and the editor of the San Pedro Sun.

Aldana reported that he was made to lie down on the ground by members of the Coast Guard, and a gun was placed at the back of his head; his camera was taken and the photos he had taken were deleted from his cameras, and also from his cell phones.

The Coast Guard agreed that his camera was taken away and they deleted the pictures of Coast Guard officers on the camera, but said that it was done for operational security purposes. The camera was then returned to him.

According to the San Pedro Sun, on Saturday, November 16, Aldana was assigned to cover a shooting incident in northern San Pedro involving civilians and members of the Belize Coast Guard.

He located and followed a San Pedro police mobile unit travelling from the boat in the lagoon to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, where a Coast Guard vessel was docked. According to Aldana, he followed a police truck that had three armed Coast Guard officers in blue uniform, and one police officer in plain clothes riding in the pan.

The truck was transporting two men seated inside. They were bleeding and appeared to have head injuries.

While Aldana followed directly behind the truck, he took several photos of the individuals who were in the pan of the truck until they reached the end of Jewfish Street. Aldana claimed that he stopped about 300 feet from where the police vehicle stopped. He was then approached by four Coast Guard officials, while the others watched from a distance, making a formation that blocked his free passage.

Aldana said that he identified himself to the officers, and three of the Coast Guards pointed their rifles at him and one approached him and asked what he was doing.

Aldana claimed that he again identified himself as a senior reporter with the San Pedro Sun. He was then told to put his hands over his head. When he asked what the problem was, he was told to comply.

After he put his hands on his head; the officer took his phones (two phones) from his front pocket and his wallet from his back pocket.

The officer of the Coast Guard then removed the chip from his DigiCell phone and put it into his phone. Aldana said that the officer deleted his photos, and also, all of the contacts from his SMART phone. They then ordered him to lie down on the ground and put his hands on the back of his head, facedown, then a Coast Guard put his rifle to the back of his head.

According to Aldana, the officer told him “Don’t do anything stupid, or I will shoot you.”

Aldana said that while he was on the ground, another Coast Guard officer went through his carrier bag, which was on the seat of his golf cart, removing everything. He said that when he tried to look up to see what was happening, the Coast Guard holding the gun to his head used the tip of the barrel of the rifle to turn his face away, so he could not observe what was happening.

Aldana said that after they removed the chip out of his camera and dismantled his digital voice recorder and tossed all of his belongings onto the ground, they ordered him to get up. The three San Pedro policemen who identified him to the Coast Guard officers were present during the ordeal.

After he was released, Aldana made a report to the San Pedro police and the San Pedro Sun, after which an investigation was carried out by the two bodies, as well as by the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said that Aldana was held against a wall and searched to ensure that he had no weapons on him, since he was within the area of operation of the Coast Guard team. Officer Commanding the San Pedro Police Formation, Luis Castellanos, said that police officers on the scene said that at no time were any weapons aimed at Aldana during the incident.

During the investigation, police announced that Corporal Rodriguez of the San Pedro police, who was present at the scene, had confirmed that the Coast Guard instructed Aldana to put his hands over his head and he was then searched.

Rodriquez also confirmed that Aldana’s bag was searched, but he did not see what was done with the camera memory card.

“At no time did the Coast Guard pull their guns on Aldana,” explained Rodriguez. “Yes, they were all armed with rifles, which they carry on their shoulders, but never was a gun pointed at him.”

Rodriguez further said that Aldana was not asked to lie on the ground with his hands behind his head, and there were never any threats to shoot him. The Corporal reported that what Aldana said was not what actually occurred.

According to the San Pedro Sun, both Rodriguez and Castellanos also stated that the other two police officers who Aldana claimed were at the scene at the time did not arrive until after the fact.

ASP Castellanos reiterated that for the safety of officers, there are times when photographs cannot be shared with the public.

Belize Coast Guard Lt. Commander Elton Bennett, on Thursday, November 21, said that he conducted interviews about the incident, but a senior Coast Guard officer who was present during the incident reported to him that no such thing happened to Aldana. The officer told him that yes, Aldana was searched, and yes, the content of the memory cards on his camera and phones was deleted, but at no time were weapons aimed at him, and at no time was he placed on the ground.

Both Rear Admiral Borland and Deputy Commandant Bennett said that they will continue to investigate the incident, and if it is found that the Coast Guard officers intimidated Aldana they would be dealt with severely.

Aldana said that he accepted the apology, and said that he will continue to work closely with the Belize Coast Guard and the police.

Amandala

Re: Reporter claims Coast Guard used unnecessary force [Re: Marty] #479457
12/10/13 01:09 PM
12/10/13 01:09 PM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 22
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FlyingRiki Offline
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FlyingRiki  Offline
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Well, someone is fabricating a story. Usually turns out being those with something to hide. Unless the reporter decided to make up a story and, in the process alienate all the law enforcement on the island, my money is on the banana republic mentalities with the guns. Not a good development and one to be carefully watched.....

Re: Reporter claims Coast Guard used unnecessary force [Re: Marty] #479557
12/11/13 11:22 AM
12/11/13 11:22 AM
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 391
AC/Dallas,TX.
Nobody You Know Offline
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Nobody You Know  Offline
Bang,Bang,Bang,Bang,Bang,Bang,Bang,Bang,Freeze,Coast Guard!!!!!

Re: Reporter claims Coast Guard used unnecessary force [Re: Marty] #479558
12/11/13 11:33 AM
12/11/13 11:33 AM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,160
San Pedro
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Phil Offline
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Phil  Offline
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Except they didn't here. They're up against Mexican Drug Cartels with a tin pot third World Budget. The US can't stop the Cartels, so good luck Belize. I'd be bang bang too versus that type. They put their life on the line against people who don't give life any value and are willing to die. In this case they were over zealous and stepped over the line immediately after a shoot out with adrenalin pumping. I think when Jorge stepped back he will agree he can see why it happened, even if it wasn't right and he was correct in highlighting it and I would think he accepted the apology and moved on.

Re: Reporter claims Coast Guard used unnecessary force [Re: Marty] #479560
12/11/13 02:04 PM
12/11/13 02:04 PM
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 391
AC/Dallas,TX.
Nobody You Know Offline
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Nobody You Know  Offline
All great except for the fact that the last citizen they shot(lifelong San Pedro resident) was unarmed and after charging him with a myriad of ridiculous charges they were all eventually summarily dismissed.Rarely,if ever, do I recall them being involved in a "fire fight" with anything that resembled a Cartel anything...

Re: Reporter claims Coast Guard used unnecessary force [Re: Marty] #479564
12/11/13 02:41 PM
12/11/13 02:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,160
San Pedro
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Phil Offline
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Phil  Offline
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I presume your talking Steve. That was bad. Wasn't that the Cops though? I'm just saying these are guys on probably $300 a week with poor training, intelligence and gear putting their life on the line against people with a lot more resources - just like the Police.

The situation with Jorge they'd just returned from a shoot out with exactly the types I'd mentioned with adrenalin pumping. We all know the Law Enforcement can be heavy handed with locals or even National Presidents - look at the recent Hol Chan incident. It's not right.

They obv roughed Jorge up way more than necessary (poorly written - he didn't deserve any roughing up) and it's not right but they're human and hopefully will learn and earn a better rep.

Just think they should catch a break and people see both sides of the coin of a tough job.

Re: Reporter claims Coast Guard used unnecessary force [Re: Marty] #479621
12/12/13 05:56 AM
12/12/13 05:56 AM
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 391
AC/Dallas,TX.
Nobody You Know Offline
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Nobody You Know  Offline
They get no break from this quarter. Let's review the facts as we know them. Local employed fishermen with a relatively small amount of dope(an amount laughable to any self respecting Cartel).I have yet to read anything about a recovered weapon of any kind. I find that it stretches any credibility for any rational person to believe anyone fired upon a crew of over armed soldier types. The other case that I am very familiar with, as I knew the victim, is incontrovertible. Four friends(also local employed people)were on a front porch up north(with the property owners permission)smoking dope and hanging out. A patrol of Coast Guard sets upon them and a "fire fight" breaks out. Let me tell you about the "fire fight." The house was struck with bullets 28 plus times(WTF). The gentleman I knew was shot(in the buttocks while laying in a prone outright position as ordered). NO weapons were found, though the CG story is he lunged at them with a machete. REALLY,he lunged at a large number of heavily armed soldiers from a prone position with the entrance wound to his ass? They are THUGS and BULLIES and I guarantee you they have as much chance of getting in a real "fire fight" with well armed Cartel types as you or I.So far they seem much more suited to terrorizing locals and creating international diplomatic incidents...

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