Midland assault: Human rights group calls for independent police complaint body

Police Brutality At Midlands Saving And Loans 2.png The woman was beaten because she refused to leave until she received GHC250.00

Mon, 23 Jul 2018 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Africa, has called on government to as a matter a urgency, create an independent police complaint body that will handle all cases involving the police officers.

The call comes on the back of recent assault on a nursing mother by a police officer.

The 37-years-old nursing mother was mercilessly beaten by the police officer on duty at the Midland Savings and Loans Company, identified as Lance Corporal Godzi Frederick Amanor when she refused to leave the premise until a sum of GHC250 was given to her.

Prior to that, seven men were gunned down in the Ashanti Region by some police officers who mistook them for armed robbers.

Below is full statement

Independent police complaint body:Too important to neglect too urgent to delay

We, the Independent Police Complaints Coalition (IPOCOCO), a group of civil society organisations/individuals advocating for the setting up of an independent police complaint body for Ghana, are deeply perturbed by the brutal battery of a woman by a Police Officer on duty at a Midlands Savings and Loans Branch in Accra last week. We are equally disturbed by the shooting of seven young men by a team of Police Officers from the Ashanti Regional Police SWAT Unit.

Both events happened within a week. The Midlands’ incident – captured in a video – was widely circulated on social media on or about Friday, 20th July 2018. In the video, the Police Officer is seen repeatedly hitting a woman who is cradling a baby in her arms, while a person present at the scene of the incident succeeded in taking the child from the victim, after some struggle.

We are deeply concerned that the abuse meted out to the woman in the above narrated incident and the series of civilian fatalities involving police shoot outs, including the recent shooting and killing of seven persons in the Ashanti Region portend an erosion of the modest gains made by the Ghana Police Service to instill a culture of democratic policing in its Officers.

The conduct of the Police Officer in the incident of 20th July 2018 clearly shows that a section of the Service is still steeped in an ethos of regime policing and sheer impunity, instead of upholding the tenets of respect for fundamental human rights, rule of law and good governance, all enshrined in Chapter 5 and 6 of the 1992 Constitution.

While welcoming the public outrage and condemnation of the act and the subsequent apprehension of the said Officer by the Police Service, we are deeply concerned that such initial intervention by the Service is often short-lived. The public hardly hears of any further and decisive action by the Ghana Police Service to investigate and mete out the most appropriate sanctions, to repose public confidence in the Service that it is able to unreservedly sanction its own and offer compensation to the victims of police brutality.

The public’s lack of confidence in the Ghana Police Service necessitates the establishment of an independent police complaints body for the Republic of Ghana. We have continually called for the establishment of an independent monitoring body which can initiate investigations and recommend commensurate sanctions of Police Officers against the backdrop of egregious acts of brutality and impunity by some Police Officers and a rather lethargic response from the Police Service at times.

While we appreciate the difficult circumstances in which Police Officers work, we are nonetheless convinced that the call to duty as a Police Officer is more than just a job; it is a vocation that requires careful thought and moderation of one’s conduct at all times, whiles on duty. For this reason, any assault and or battery and show of bravado by a Police Officer on on a defenseless citizen is unlawful, unprofessional and unacceptable. Such conducts must be condemned in no uncertain terms.

The nature of the police duties places a higher responsibility of care on the police officer. An officer must therefore undertake his or her duties within legal parameters including respect and protection of the rights of all persons, including accused persons.

Accordingly, we welcome the decision of the Ghana Police Service to publish the outcome of the investigations into the conduct of the Officer involved in the MIDLAND savings and loans premises abuse. The Coalition further reiterate all previous recommendations to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to make public the status of investigations and sanctions, if any, of other Officers who have misconducted themselves in similar situations.

In respect of the shooting and killing of the seven, the Coalition calls for the immediate setting up of the promised independent investigations committee to deal with the two cases occurring in Kumasi without any further delays.

Within 7 days of constituting the committee they should publish an Interim Factual Report (IFR) addressing the following:

1. The identity of the seven slain men suspected to be armed robbers

What types of weapons they were using/carrying when they met their untimely deaths

2. Evidence of gun battle: detailing total number of shells recovered from the crime scene, number of shells coming from police guns and that of the suspects; and submit pictorial evidence of an ensued gun battle such as bullet marks, holes, etc on walls, vehicles etc.

3. Within 14 days, we expect an update of that Interim Factual Report (IFR) providing the Ghanaian public evidence (if any) tying each of the seven suspects to the said weapons recovered from the crime scene.

We hold a strong conviction that the committee will gain the trust, respect and cooperation of families of the victims and the general public should they be forthcoming with information listed above within the shortest possible time, while restoring confidence in the Police.

We further strongly repeat calls that the Ministry of the Interior immediately convene a meeting of stakeholders working in and on the Police Service from both governmental and non-governmental institutions to discuss and prepare a roadmap for the establishment of an independent police complaints body for Ghana.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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