By Rowland A. Parks
A police special constable has become the third officer to be charged criminally in connection with the September 8 shakedown of Belmopan businessman, Thyrel Hyde.
Special Constable Joslyn Gill was arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart on a charge of theft of $260 from Thyrel Hyde.
Gill now joins his two other colleagues, Police Corporal Reymundo Requeña and Police Constable Edgar Teul, who has also been charged in connection with the police shakedown of Thyrel Hyde, which was caught on camera.
Gill pleaded not guilty and was offered bail in the sum of $4,000 plus one surety in the same amount.
Police officers working at the Magistrate’s Court, however, went out of their way to bend all the rules in facilitating Gill to avoid court reporters. Gill was given his bail forms inside the court, in an effort for him to elude reporters and their cameras.
Gill was not totally successful with his attempts to avoid reporters and in the end, he allegedly hit and damaged a reporter’s camera and a formal complaint was filed him for damage to property.
On the night of September 8, Hyde was socializing in his car on Sea Shore Drive, when a group of police officers arrived in a police mobile patrol and searched them for drugs and ammunition.
But, according to Hyde, the police robbed him, taking a manila envelope that contained both money and contract documents for some of his clients.
The cash, Hyde explained, was to purchase supplies for his business.
The police also allegedly stole the cash the found in Hyde’s wallet.
The officers, having found Hyde’s ATM card, reportedly took him to the Atlantic Bank ATM machine on Freetown Road, forced him to tell them his pin number, and withdrew $260 from his bank account.
The entire transaction, however, was being recorded by the bank’s security camera.
Hyde, with the assistance of the Ombudsman, was able to secure the surveillance camera footage from the bank’s ATM.
After helping themselves to the money from his account, the officers drove him back to his car, warning him that if they see him again, they would arrest him.
About two days before Hyde went to the Queen Street Police Station to take part in an identification parade of the officers, he received death threats on his cell.