UPDATE (February 9):
One month after the death of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan, more than 30,000 people have signed a petition urging the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to share evidence, including documents and CCTV footage, with his grieving family.
It has now been reported that 52 police officers came into contact with Mr Hassan during his time in police custody. This is according to information shared by senior independent investigator Ian Andrews when he met with Mr Hassan's family and again at a community reference group (CRG) meeting last week.
The family's lawyer, Hilary Brown of Virgo Consultancy, said Hassan's family were "understandably disturbed" by the news. "There are allegations of excessive force and to hear that Hassan was subject to this level of police contact has been really upsetting and then not to be given any further information about this, the contact, was really difficult and completely unfair."
Brown also added that she had serious misgivings about the way the information was being shared. The CRG meeting, which was conducted over Zoom and included four members of the public, took place just days after the family were told of the findings. CRG meetings are designed to give community leaders the opportunity to ask questions about specific IOPC cases, but Hassan's family say the new findings were disclosed in the meeting too soon after they'd found out themselves.
"The family did not want the matter to be discussed with anybody else," Brown added, "and they were trying to come to terms with this information and were devastated when they heard that this detail of the ongoing investigation had been disclosed during this meeting.
"It seems unfair that information requested by the family has not been forthcoming and yet such sensitive information was revealed to a community group."
The IOPC has said they are currently interviewing a "large number" of police officers and staff who may have come into contact with Hassan.
“We need to ensure we have spoken to anyone who may possibly have useful information to help us build a picture of what happened, as part of our thorough and independent investigation," the IOPC spokesperson added.
Independently, the results of a private postmortem exam paid for by Hassan's family are expected to be released in the next few days.
Original story below.
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Cardiff in Wales this week to protest the unexplained death of a 24-year-old Black man.
South Wales Police are investigating the death of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan in Cardiff just hours after his release in custody, with his family claiming he was assaulted whilst in custody.
Mr Hassan was arrested on Friday evening (January 8) following allegations of breach of the peace in the city, but was later released without charge on Saturday morning (January 9). Officers have said that Hassan left custody at around 8.30am on Saturday morning; however, later that evening, he passed away, with his family saying that he claimed to have been assaulted in custody before his death.
A statement on Hassan's GoFundMe page says: "He told our family members that he was tasered twice and through images they could see bite marks all over his body. Additionally, he stated that he was brutally kicked in the head and suffered injuries to his face and knee—it was dislocated, and he struggled to walk. Witnesses say that he was covered in blood with significant injuries to his mouth."
Hassan's local community want answers. Protestors marched from Cardiff's city centre to the police station with chants of "no justice, no peace" and "stop police brutality" heard loud and clear, as well as demanding the release of CCTV footage of Hassan in custody.
Mr Hassan's aunt, Zainab Hassan, said she saw her nephew within an hour of his release and stated that Hassan had "lots of wounds on his body and lots of bruises." She went on to say that "he didn't have these wounds when he was arrested and when he came out of Cardiff Bay police station, he had them." She also stated that Hassan was due to become a father and described him as "loving."
Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price, told the Welsh parliament this week: "Witnesses were reportedly shocked by Mr Hassan's condition on his release, saying his tracksuit was covered in blood and he had severe injuries and bruising. There can be no doubt this is a deeply harrowing case and every effort should be made to seek the truth of what happened. Why was Mohamud Hassan arrested? What happened during his arrest? Did he have legal representation? Was there any after care? Why did this young man die?"
South Wales Police said that they found no evidence of excessive force, with a police watchdog saying initial tests showed Mr Hassan was not killed by any injuries. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said toxicology tests are currently being carried out and are now awaiting the full post-mortem results.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the reports of Mr Hassan's death were "deeply concerning", adding that "our thoughts must be with the family of a young man who was a fit and healthy individual whose death must be properly investigated."
Minister Drakeford wants to see the investigation carried out "vigorously and with full and visible independence", with solicitor Hilary Brown saying that a complaint had been made to the IOPC and the family would be seeking an independent pathologist report.
"We want somebody to try to explain to us why a young, healthy man was arrested by South Wales Police with no apparent injuries to his body and as a result of being released from Cardiff Bay police station," Brown said. "He was badly marked with bruising and cuts, and within hours was dead."
We stand with Mohamud Mohammed Hassan's family and their fight for justice.