The police in Wales are investigating the death of a 24-year-old Black man who died hours after he was released from custody following his arrest at his Cardiff residence on Friday, December 8.
According to BBC, Mohamud Mohammed Hassan was arrested by South Wales Police officers on suspicion of breach of the peace on the aforementioned date and spent the night behind bars. After Hassan was released without charge on the morning of Saturday, December 9, he passed away a few hours later.
Hassan’s family allege he was assaulted while he was in custody, with his aunt claiming he returned home with “lots of wounds on his body and lots of bruises” after he was released. “He didn’t have these wounds when he was arrested and when he came out of Cardiff Bay police station, he had them,” she said, adding that they want justice for him.
“Nothing we do is going to bring him back but we will not rest for a second until we have justice.”
Following his death, the South Wales Police said preliminary investigations did not find any evidence of excessive use of force or misconduct. They, however, said they have referred the case to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to investigate, and have handed over all the necessary CCTV footage and body-worn recording for them to be able to review what happened during the hours leading to his death, BBC reported.
The IOPC claim early autopsy results indicate Hassan’s cause of death wasn’t as a result of physical injuries. They also said toxicology tests are being undertaken and they’re waiting for the full results of the autopsy. Meanwhile, Hassan’s family also confirmed they’ll request for an independent pathologist report and also requested for an independent police force to look into the incident.
“I would like to offer my sympathies to Mr Hassan’s family and friends and to those members of the community affected by his death and the events at the weekend,” South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael, said. “We now know that there is no physical trauma injury to explain a cause of death and it is important that we await the outcome of the independent investigation before drawing conclusions about what happened.”
The footage of the incident can only be released after the IOPC complete investigations.
“We need answers now”
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside a police station for the second day in a row on Tuesday demanding answers and for the footage to be released. One of the protesters, Bianca Ali, also told BBC they want “transparency” in the investigations.
“We can’t just sit at home and twiddle our thumbs and wait for an answer from the IOPC,” Ali said. “We need answers now, we want answers now, we want transparency. If we see the footage and the police did not do absolutely anything, then as a community we can have a little bit of closure and move on with the situation.
“But until we have have full transparency, and the full facts of the whole case, we’re not going to go anywhere.”