Encounter with brutal force of police

“We are not anti-police…we are anti-police brutality,” says Al-Sharpson.

“You were put here to protect us. But who protects us from you,” KRS-One

has opined

“There is a lot of things that need to be changed. One Specifically? Police brutality,” Colin Kaepernick, has postulated.

This article is neither to undermine the work of the Ghana Police Service nor to bring them into disrepute or public ridicule.

It is meant to share some perspectives, as a victim of police brutality, drawing lessons from the concept of Johari’s window in communications studies, that seeks to underscore the Importance of feed back in improving effective communications and human relationship.

It is my fervent hope that it will serve as a useful feedback into the strategic transformational agenda to make the police more professional and institution of excellence.

And indeed, a food for thought for the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau.  

Certainly, Thursday March 14, 2018, is the day I will not easily forget in my life when my colleagues Malik Sulemana, Raissa Sambou and myself were subjected to police brutality, with impunity in the full glare of the public at Accra Central Business District of Kinbu.

We encountered a police sergeant, who has been named as Sergeant Ebenezer Asiedu with the SWAT.

Riding on an unregistered private motorbike, he smashed our official car conveying us to assignments. He damaged our bumper and the right driving mirror, jumped the traffic light and sped off.

An eyewitness on a motorbike chased the police, our driver Francis, also followed up till we pulled to a stop.

We got down to prevail on the police sergeant for us to go the police station to resolve the issue. As we were getting to an understanding, there came a police officer with a number of policemen, like a predator searching for a prey.

Indeed, his presence escalated an issue that was near resolution. Sergeant Asiedu became embolden, as soon as he saw the commander and the other policemen. They turned the heat on us. Temper flared!

I heard the commander gave instructions “He is filming, arrest him, handcuff,” He turned to me “search him ,take his phone and the bag.’

The emboldened Sergeant Asiedu snatched my bag, dropped it hard on our car bonnet and ransacked it. The other policemen heckled me. I stretched my hand to hand over my phone to the commander. He refused to take it, after he issued instructions that it should confiscated.

They assaulted Malik for filming the wrong doings of Sergeant Asiedu. They hit him hardest, handcuffed him and threw him into their Tundra pick up, and drove to the Ministries Police Station where they locked him up and continued with the human rights abuses.

Rassai, a lactating mother who went through the pain of caeserean section took some hard knocks from the police, to her abdomen and her face, as she tried to rescue Malik, and pleading with the police to stop hitting her colleague.

I        called our Newseditor, Matthew Ayoo and narrated the incident to him, who also reached out to our Editor Dave Agbenu and they set out to locate Malik at the police station. 

Meanwhile, Raissa was groaning in pain. We put her in the car and drove to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, formerly Ridge Hospital.

I was helpless as my colleague Raissa was in excruciating pain, fidgetting on my lap, and groaning “Mr Rahaman, I am dying.” I encouraged her that we would soon get to the hospital.

At the flipside of the police brutality, is the finest of medical healthcare by the new phase of the Ridge Hospital.

Raissa was wheeled to the ‘Plastic Room’ of the Emergency Medical Department of the hospital for an “intensive care.”

Within minutes, she was surrounded by a team of specialists, junior doctors, nurses and medical students. I noticed one Dr Amiable.

They worked had to diagnose and resuscitate Raissa. I offered some background of Raissa’s condition to them. I was bombarded with their medical terminology as they used Raissa’s condition as a case study for teaching and learning.

Myself and our driver spent a better part of the day, from 9:15 a.m. to about 2:00 p.m. shuttling between the ward, the pharmacy and the laboratory to help procure medications and laboratory results to help in the diagnoses and treatment.

I emptied Raissa’s purse to pay for the services that are not covered by her National Health Insurance. 

Dr Amiable and one hardworking Nurse on duty known as Bertha were very helpful!

We heaved a sigh of relief, when the preliminary scan showed there was no bleeding. Within some hours Raissa could not now get up from her bed and talk to our editor Mr Agbenu, who was in the company of the News Editor, Mr Ayoo, Assistant Commissioner of Police David Eklu and investigators.

Raissa, whose husband is a naval officer, was discharged later in the day, to come back for review while Malik was bailed to seek medical attention.

We are aware the police are the custodians of the law. I know they are good at “packaging” their charges to favour them when it has to do with their own.

We at New Times Corporation, publishers of the Ghanaian Times and the Spectator, do not fear the police.

We revere them for their role in society. We are their partners in development. Never a day passes without us publishing reports in our newspapers, stories projecting their work in combating crime and promoting safety on out roads.

We will continue to march them boot for boot with the might of our pens, to promote good governance and uphold the human rights of the citizens, so as to make Ghana a better place to live.

The commander who issued the instructions that escalated what would, otherwise would have been a simple issue to resolve, in my view was ungentlemanly, appears to lack sense of good judgment, bereft of persuasive communication skills and consensus-building technique, and also appeared to have a premeditated mind to show Journalists where power lies. Just as his sergeant was unruly.

On personal note, I will be the last person to disrespect the police. I will be the last person to encourage anyone to frustrate a police personnel from carrying out their duties, giving my background.

I am a son of the World War Two veteran, my father served with the British West African Frontier Forces.

After the war, he was drafted into the Gold Coast Police, through the influence of Salifu Dargati, Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s body guard.

He rose from Constable Class 3 to the rank of Sergeant Between 1954-1967, in the Gold Coast and Ghana Police Service.

He was an instructor at the Police Depot at the Elmina Castle, where the facility was used as a training school for the police, before it was relocated to present Police Depot at Tesano, where I was born, till he retired in 1967.

My father trained the late Gushei-Naa, Bawa Andani Yakubu, former Inspector General of Police and member of the erstwhile National Liberation Council, at the Elmina Castle

He also trained, among others, the late Deputy Commissioner of Police(retd), David Walenkaki, one of Ghana’s finest police officer.

My uncle, RSM Adamu Hammah served in the Gold Coast and Ghana Police Service and retired at Kumasi Central Police Station in the 1960s, with impeccable records.

Again, another uncle Sergeant Yahaya Grunshie, once served as the leader of Police Mounted Squadron, and retired in the early 1980s in Kumasi, after several years of service to Ghana.

My 82-year-old cousin, Superintended (retrd) Moro Adamu, formerly with the Special Branch, now Bureau of National Investigations, whispered to me that the Inspector General of Police, David Asante-Apeatu, served under him, when he (Supt Adamu), was the Upper West Regional Crime Officer at Wa in 1990.

The late former Quatermaster General of the Ghana Police Service, Chief Superintendent Alhaji Abdul-Moomin, a police officer of high repute, is my cousin.

My elder brother, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Alhaji Dauda Salifu, a Physician Assistant, who retired from the Police Hospital in Accra, a few months ago.

Besides, I have lots of classmates who are commissioned officers in the Ghana Police Service, including Superintendent of Police, Samuel P. Tibil, the Bolgatanga Municipal Police Commander; Deputy Superintendent of Police(DSP), Moses Naa Kolgo with the Tenaso Police Station, ASP Daniel Yaro, used to be the Head of the Anti-Human Traffic Unit of the Eastern Regional Police Command, and many more I am yet to discover.

The Operations Officer of the Greater Accra Regional Police Command, Chief Superintendent Kwasi Ofori and the Central Regional Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Oppong were my mates at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

I recall all these to buttress the fact that the police is my home. I have police blood running through me. In fact I sleep and wake up with the police at New Aplaku Top in the Ga South Municipality.

We have all chosen different professions to help develop Ghana. The police commander whose instructions escalated the matter on that fateful day must learn to respect the rights of others. 

 “Returning violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars,” says Martin Luther King.

 By this saying, I encourage the police commander at the center of the “Kinbu drama” to own up and extend the olive branch.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

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