From Lee Jasper’s blog
A third day of consecutive demonstrations took place in Cardiff today outside Cardiff Bay Police station as communities mobilised demanding justice of Mahamud Hassan 24 years of age, who was found dead on Saturday 8th January at his home, after being detained by South Wales police.
Mahamud was subjected to a statutory post-mortem conducted on behalf of the state by Dr Ryk James whose interim report and findings whilst inconclusive at this stage on the precise cause of death, nevertheless flatly contradicts the assertion by South Wales police that their enquiries “found no evidence of any significant injury or excessive force…” being used by their officers during the arrest and detention of Mr Hassan.
The question arises here is what constitutes “excessive force” for South Wales police?
I’m guessing that their definition will differ wildly from the commonly held definition of the general public. We are perfectly aware that Home Office data tells us that while we make up 3% of the population, a massive 16% of the total number of people subject to the police use of force are black. It is also significant there has never been a single successful prosecution of a police officer for murder or manslaughter in the last 50 years.
Dr James’s confirms that Mr Hassan had blood smears and splatters on his grey tracksuit. That there was clear evidence of a “Bleeding injury inside swollen upper lip which appears to be a split…” that additionally there were numerous “areas of bruising present mainly to the arms, elbows, wrists and left hand but with no evidence of any significant injury to the soft tissues, skeleton and internal organs.”
The report goes on to confirm that Mahamud had what he describes as “minor skin and soft tissue injuries” and a split lip that could be a consequence of a “punch or slap”
He also cites injuries to his arm that he says could be the result of being strongly gripped and bruises on his body that were consistent with “impact against hard surfaces”.
The Independent Office of Police Complaints (IOPC) issued a press release on 12 January setting out the actions they had taken in relation to their investigation. Bizarrely they concluded even prior to the publication of the interim pathology report conducted by Dr James that…
“An interim report from a post mortem examination is awaited. Preliminary indications are that there is no physical trauma injury to explain a cause of death, and toxicology tests are required.”
How is it that came to this conclusion on the basis of, ” preliminary indications”? How is it possible to reach such preliminary conclusions and put them into the public domain, when it is clear that Mahamud had indeed suffered a variety of injuries?
The extent to which any one of these injuries may have contributed to his death can only be finally concluded when all of the necessary forensic pathology has taken place.
Why then did the IOPC issue this press statement that appears to be either prejudicial or seeking to influence independent pathology investigations and indeed public opinion?
In any event it cannot be proper that the IOPC came to such an immediate conclusion on the basis of presumably what they were told by South Wales police. It should be of concern to everybody that the IOPC appears to be acting as a surrogate mouthpiece for the police.
This will be subject to a formal complaint on behalf of the family and poses serious questions about the credibility and the neutrality of the IOPC in this investigation.
The South Wales police also refused to release police bodycam and CCTV video stating in a press release that “…footage cannot be released by South Wales police whilst the IPOC is investigating…” I find this entirely disingenuous. Police body cam video was introduced with the expressed purpose of providing clear and objective evidence in relation to controversial policing incidents. They can be no incident more controversial than the death of Mr Hassan in the circumstances described.
And before we hear cries of “it would undermine, disrupt or negatively affect the investigation process” I would remind everyone that in America these videos are released in many instances very soon after such incidents and without any apparent negative effect to the investigation process. We must continue to demand that if the Police have nothing to hide then they should be zero consequences for releasing this footage immediately.
We have created a public petition demanding that the police body cam and CCTV footage is handed over to the Hassan family immediately. I would invite you to share, sign and promote.
The Home Secretary and senior police officers need to wake up to the fact that we are now living in a post Black Lives Matter era that requires a paradigm shift in transparency and accountability and a rebalancing of the scales of justice.
Nothing less will suffice and Black communities, supported by our allies are now demanding radical change.
Post the murder of George Floyd and in the words of Dr Martin Luther King, British black communities have become ‘maladjusted to injustice’. Politicians and senior police officers will do well to wake up and smell the coffee.
An independent post mortem examination will be conducted on behalf of the family Friday, 15 January Friday 2021 it will be interesting to compare both reports.