Trial of a Former Policeman Who Shot a Black Teenager
The trial of Amado Interian was held on the afternoon of December 13th in Courtroom Number 7 of the Havana Court. He is a former police officer who shot a 14-year-old teenager named Angel Izquierdo. The trial had been suspended on December 9th due to a nonappearance by the defendant.
Amado Interian was dressed like an inmate, but it was not possible to find out in which prison he was being held pending trial. The former policeman exercised his right to testify but he did not answer any questions.
The former policeman, in open court, cried and testified that he did not intend to kill anyone and he asked the victim’s family for forgiveness. He also showed the court all of the injuries he received while serving in the police force.
The hearing began at 1:00 pm when the defense attorney arrived. It lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes, with disorder and commotion in the courtroom. The teenager’s family showed their disagreement with the trial and the charges brought by the prosecution and the way they tried to reduce his liability.
In its report, the prosecution acknowledged that Amado had no reason to fire his weapon at these helpless kids and kill one of them. However, they only asked for a sentence of 17 years in prison for murder, a crime which is punishable by a sentence of 15-30 years in prison, or death.
Interian, who is 54 years old, underwent a psychiatric examination and was determined to be mentally fit and that at the time of these events, he had the capacity to understand the measure and extent of his actions. However, there was no explanation during the hearing as to why he still had a license to carry a firearm even though he retired five years ago.
The police officer lives and works in the Montecito estate, in the village of Lajas in the Mantilla district of the municipal capital Arroyo Naranjo, where the events took place. In the trial it was said that the estate belonged to him yet no reference was made to a deed which authorized his right to the property.
Nevertheless, it was made clear that the fruit tree was some distance from the residence of the accused and that the victim was up the tree when he was shot. Marzo, as one of the witnesses identified themselves, owner of the estate neighbouring the ex-soldier’s and who witnessed the events, did not see when Interian fired his Colt, the murder weapon.
The witness told the court that on the afternoon of 15th July 2011 he went towards Interian’s house looking for his livestock. He heard some voices. He went running, machete in hand, and the ex policeman put on his shoes, shirt and took his weapon.
Interian’s neighbour first arrived at the bush where Ismael, 17 years of age, Angel and Yandi, both 14, were climbing. All boys were of black ethnicity. He ordered them to climb down when he heard the first shot.
Whilst the boys got down he heard the ex-policeman uttering profanities and asking his neighbours to ‘kill a black boy and f*** them up’. Marzo heard the second shot and one of the teenagers groaning. Angel became tangled in a branch and fell upon the impact of the bullet.
The medical expert testified in court and reasserted that the cause of death was acute anemia caused by the impact of the projectile. The bullet entered the victim’s body in the lumbar region, went through the left kidney, the aorta and the right lung before exiting the shoulder.
The defence lawyer insisted that it was a simple case of homicide, that he was anticipating a sentence of 7 to 15 years, and that the court took into account the previous good conduct of the ex-policeman. He also presented the medals that Interian had received during his 30 years of service in the National Revolutionary Police Force. Maria Caridad Jiminez Medina, first cousin of the victim, exploded with rage as the defence gave its closing statement.
Immediately after, Lacadio Izquierdo, Angel’s uncle, stood up to block the ex-soldier who moved away, guarded by more than a dozen uniformed officials of the Prisons Service of the Department of the Interior. The officials, on more than one occasion, prevented relatives from reaching the accused.
The ex-policeman was chief of the area where the victim lived and is described as a violent and abusive man. ‘In this country you get 20 to 25 for killing a cow and for killing a child this man got 17’, said Nidia Medina, aunt of the murdered teenager. ‘We’re not going to resolve anything here, here there is no justice’ said others trying to calm the most upset. The protest paralyzed the trial and continued in the street.
Translated by: Hank, Sian Creely
January 5 2012