Angry residents and police clash over allegations of police involvement in Kendis Flowers’ death
BELIZE CITY, Mon. Mar. 26, 2018– The weekend of Saturday, March 17, was the bloodiest weekend so far for the year. In Belize City alone, five persons died from gunshot injuries, and a sixth murder was reported in the Orange Walk District. Notable among the murders in Belize City was that of the Ghost Town gang leader Kendis Flowers, 26, who was laid to rest on Sunday.
Reports are that gunshots were heard during and after the funeral ceremonies. When Flowers’ family members and friends and affiliates returned to Mayflower Street for a repast, all hell broke loose when the police’s Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) showed up and attempted to make an arrest.
The presence of the GSU triggered outrage from Flowers’ family members, mostly the female members of the family, who were in a yard at #5 Mayflower Street. That is because from the time of Flowers’ murder, there have been innuendos and rumors circulating in the community that the GSU had a hand in the execution of the 26-year-old.
Police had issued a statement denying that any police officer was involved in the fatal early- morning shooting, which had occurred in a rival gang’s territory, in the vicinity of Mahogany Street and Sittee Street, which is in the Back-a-Town gang area.
When Flowers’ body was found, there was a gun on his chest, and his right hand appeared to have been clutching the gun. His relatives and friends believe, however, that the gun was planted on him. More than one source has confirmed to Amandala that Flowers was left-handed.
Then crucial surveillance video footage that police had collected from a business in the area where the murder occurred, which they had promised that they would show to Flowers’ family, has still not been shown to them.
Amandala’s investigation, however, has revealed that indeed, police reviewed the surveillance footage from a Chinese shop in the area where the shooting occurred. The location from which Flowers’ body was retrieved, however, would seem to indicate that it would not have been possible for the surveillance camera to have captured the incident, unless he was shot immediately in front of the shop, which is not the case.
Amandala also spoke with a resident in the area of the shooting. That person said that when the first shots were fired, he took precaution and went down on the floor in his room. Then he heard the voice of a man asking the shooter, “why are you shooting me?”
This was followed by another shot, Amandala was told.
A resident of the area told us that if Flowers had a gun, as police said, then he would not have asked his assailant that question – he would rather have been shooting back at him.
On Sunday evening, as the GSU walked into the yard in the Mayflower area where the grievers had assembled, more than one person began videoing what was taking place between Flowers’ family and the officers. More than one video was live-streamed on Facebook and immediately, the videos went viral. At present, more than 30,000 persons have watched the videos.
Within a short period of time, the power of social media was evident, as thousands of people viewed the videos and their disturbing contents, which included an audio recording of women shouting expletives at the police, and the police firing a number of live rounds and rubber bullets, two of which ricocheted and hit two persons.
In one of the videos, a woman was seen lying on the ground, obviously in some kind of distress. At first, the impression was that she was hit by one of the bullets fired by the police, but it was found that the woman had been pepper-sprayed.
This morning, Amandala went to #5 Mayflower Street to speak with Flowers’ family.
Sandra Uter, 63, Kendis Flowers’ grandmother, explained that they had just returned home from the cemetery and were in the process of having a repast for those who had come to the yard after the funeral.
“Everyone was gathered around after the funeral, some were in the street and some were inside the yard. About six to seven GSU walked into the yard. They didn’t say anything to anyone. They just went and grabbed one of my grandsons. He resisted, and asked, ‘Weh unnu di ker me fa?’ “ she said.
She further related, “People started to cuss, and one of the other officers told the GSU officer who was holding her grandson, to stand down. But he and the boy were struggling together, and he never obeyed the order to stand down.
“So with that, people started to come in the yard, because they heard us cussing out the GSU. We di tell dem that we noh want dem inna the yard, because some of dem responsible fu my grandson’s death.
“Everybody from off the street start come inna di yard. The GSU started to crank up their guns. This young lady right ya [Uter pointed to a woman sitting on a chair], tell dem to get out of the yard, and they pepper-sprayed her.
Our dog made grab after his [the officer’s] foot and he turned around and shot the dog, but the dog noh dead.
“While the commotion still di go on with the young man, everybody got annoyed and tried to chase dem out the yard. They started to fire shots in the air. A total of twelve 9mm shell casings and some spent shotgun cartridges were picked by the children from around the yard.”