OW teen killed by cops

The content originally appeared on: Amandala Newspaper

Photo: Dyandre Chee, deceased

by Charles Gladden

ORANGE WALK, Mon. Mar. 27, 2023

An investigation is being conducted into the circumstances which led to the death of 19-year-old Dyandre Chee of Orange Walk Town who was allegedly killed by uniformed police officers on Saturday, March 25 on Boundary Road in Orange Walk Town in an incident in which a minor was also injured.

According to police reports, at around 10:00 p.m., four police officers of the QRT (Quick Response Team) responded to shots fired on Riverside Street and allegedly saw three motorcycles, each carrying a driver and pillion rider, swiftly fleeing the scene. The officers pursued the motorcyclists in the direction of Baquitas.

While the officers were in pursuit of the motorcyclists, gunshots were allegedly heard coming from the direction of one of the motorcycles in front of the police officers. The chase then led to Otro Benque Street, where one of the motorcycles made a U-turn, and two shots were allegedly heard as it did so, and that’s when the officers returned fire.

The driver of that motorcycle, identified as Chee, collapsed to the ground with an apparent gunshot wound to his stomach and was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His passenger, 17-year-old Miguel Rivero, was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital (NRH) for medical attention, as he complained of pain in his right leg due to the fall.

The officers then canvassed the route and discovered two .223 expended shells as well as a 9mm shell, and Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, told local media in a press conference this afternoon that the shells could have been fired from police firearms, but the officers say otherwise.

“The .223 shells are likely those discharged from the police,” he said. “The investigation based on interviews conducted with the police officers, they are saying that neither of them had a nine-millimeter pistol,” he noted.

The COMPOL also noted that, while the officers claim to not have been carrying the weapon at the time, he said that the shell casing will be handed over to the National Forensic Science Service Ballistics Unit to determine if it was discharged by any licensed weapon or if it was fired by the department-issued firearm.

In an interview with Yazuri Chee, the sister of the deceased, she has publicly claimed that the officers who pursued her brother were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, and had recently come off-duty. But Commissioner Williams didn’t confirm or deny those allegations and the time period within which a specimen test could have been done has passed.

Contrary to what the official police report has stated, Yazuri Chee is saying that her brother was unarmed and that the alleged gunshot heard was the sound of the muffler of the motorcycle.

“They are saying that my brother and his crowd, the bikers, were shooting at them, which is a no. I believe that police officers should have gone on training to know the difference between a muffler and a gunshot. These cycles are factory-made; at some point after the engine had run for a while it pops, and everybody knows that. I believe that they just want to kill my little brother out of nowhere. They were trigger-happy. They were under the influence,” she said.

It was confirmed by Compol Williams that the muffler of the motorcycle would make that sound.

“I need justice!” Chee declared. “I need Chester [Williams] to come out here and see what he can do, because every time we have a killing in Orange Walk, in Belize, in Corozal, wherever it happens, Chester [Williams] just says that they deal with it. We can’t even trust in them; we can’t.”

“… Police be placed in uniform, instead of protecting us, they’re killing us; that’s all they do and Chester [Williams] needs to know that; he needs to put his dogs on a leash because this is too much,” she added.

A file will be compiled and forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for review. While the matter will be looked at as a criminal investigation, an internal investigation will be done to determine whether any breaches of Police Department policies occurred.

According to Alejandro Hernandez, Assistant Superintendent of Police attached to the Compliance Unit, four policies will be looked at: Body Camera, Pursuit, Use of Force, and Human Rights policies.

Regarding the four policies, Hernandez refrained from going into detail about that matter as it is still under investigation; however, in regard to the Pursuit policy, he agreed that those officers complied but had flaws in their actions, as he stated that no warning shots should be fired if police officers are in pursuit. That is where the officers failed to comply with the department’s policy, he said.

Senior investigators will be headed by Superintendent Gerald Jones, Deputy Head for Crime Investigation Branch (CIB), to investigate the matter.

Chee leaves behind a 1-year-old daughter.