Police Officer vs. Holy Cross Managers

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 20            May 21, 2009

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The Wilsons as they were released from the San Pedro Police Station.

A police officer is on interdiction today after being arrested and charged for allegedly causing harm to his ex-common law wife and wounding the Director for Holy Cross Anglican School Vernon Wilson, while in the presence of his two-year-old son. This all transpired on Monday, April 18th, 2009 between 9:00 and 9:30 a.m. in front of Fido’s Restaurant and Bar on Barrier Reef Drive.

        According to Mr. Wilson, he was at home on the day of the incident carrying out some work when he received a phone call from his wife, Francis. Mrs. Wilson, the Local Manager and Volunteer Coordinator for Holy Cross School, called him because she was worried about one of the school’s teacher, Ms. X (to protect her identity), who had not presented herself to work. The Principal of the school Mrs. Grace Williams had informed Wilson’s wife that during the weekend, the teacher had confided on Williams telling her that her ex-common law husband was threatening her life. That Monday, another teacher explained to Mrs. Williams that she had passed by Ms. X’s home and had found the front door wide open and that it seemed it had been broken into. No one was inside and she immediately became concerned.    

    Wilson explained that Mrs. Williams then called Ms. X’s cell phone and a man’s voice answered the line and told her that Ms. X was not there. Mrs. Williams informed the man that she would be calling in five minutes and that she had better be able to speak to Ms. X. Five minutes later, Ms. X was on the phone explaining that she was with her ex Mark Martinez and that they were heading to Belize Bank located on the far end of Barrier Reef Drive. That was when Mr. Wilson received the call informing him that a cab was on its way to Holy Cross Anglican School to pick him and Mrs. Wilson up.

        Arriving downtown, the Wilsons found Ms. X with Martinez and their son by the San Pedro Catholic Church. According to Wilson, he placed a call to Officer in Charge Dennis Arnold asking for assistance. Once the taxi came to a stop by Fido’s, Mrs. Wilson ran over to Ms. X who was shaking and in tears while Mr. Wilson confronted Martinez, who was dressed in civilian clothing. Mrs. Wilson, Ms. X and the boy ran to the van and got inside. Mr. Wilson explained that Martinez allegedly tried to follow Ms. X into the van but was detained by Mrs. Wilson who positioned herself between the two. Mr. Wilson called OIC Arnold once more requesting assistance. When Mr. Wilson saw Martinez shove Mrs. Wilson he claims that he became involved and told Martinez that they were heading to the police station to file a report. It is alleged that Martinez became enraged and shouted to the Wilsons not to interfere in his personal life. “We had an argument last night and we worked it out and my son is coming with me and she is not going back to your school,” he told them.    

    Allegedly, Mrs. Wilson then closed the van’s door and after several attempts, Martinez managed to jump head first into the van through a small window on the passenger side. It is claimed that as he lunged toward Mrs. Wilson he slammed her into the side of the van. Attempting to get him out, Mr. Wilson tore Martinez’s shirt. Martinez turned to him and told him, “You ripped my shirt.” “Yes, I did,” replied Mr. Wilson, “and I am not letting you go.” With that Martinez allegedly hit him on the side of his face and then grabbed Mr. Wilson’s left hand thumb and tried to break it. With the assistance of passers-by, Mr. Wilson was able to remove Martinez from the van and once freed, headed to the police station.

        Once the Wilsons and Ms. X arrived at the police station, Martinez was already there talking to on duty police officers, according to Mrs. Wilson. They were all escorted to OIC Arnold’s office and he listened to all the parties involved along with Sergeant Leslie Wade who was the officer assigned to investigate the incident. Ms. X was instructed to visit the Clerk of Courts and get a restraining order on Martinez based on the allegations that it was not the first time that there had been physical abuse on his behalf towards her.     After all of them gave their statements separately and once Ms. X had received her necessary restraining order permit, Mrs. Wilson escorted her to the safety of Holy Cross. Upon her return, Mrs. Wilson was told that she was under arrest and they needed to remain at the station. Later on through the day, Mr. Wilson was placed in a holding cell after which, he alleges, Martinez and PC #150 Clark took him to a back room where he was threatened.

        OIC Arnold was told of the threat and he reprimanded Clark for his behavior reiterating that such behavior would not be tolerated under his watch. “No deal making of any kind will be tolerated,” commented Arnold.

        The Wilsons were taken before the Magistrate who formally charged them with the following: Mr. Wilson was arrested and charged for Damage to Property for damaging Martinez’s shirt and ripping his gold chain; Mrs. Wilson was arrested and charged for Wounding Martinez when she scratched him and pierced his skin. The court date was scheduled for June 22nd.

        OIC Arnold stated in an interview that he has never tolerated abuse on behalf of his officers in the same way he expects the community to respect the officials. “Never will it be tolerated,” he stated, “and should my officers be involved in an incident, such as this, we will fully investigate the matter till the end.” OIC Arnold spoke to Martinez who told him that in the past he had had problems with his ex but that the issues were being settled and that they were on the road to reconciliation. Martinez was placed on interdiction and placed on pay salary. He is not to work until the case has been finalized and in order for him to acquire another job, he would need to receive authorization from Police Commissioner Crispin Jeffries. Should he be found guilty, Martinez would be dismissed from the force.

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