LONDON: A British police watchdog is facing growing pressure following the death of a man shortly after his release from custody.
Mohamud Hassan, a 24-year-old with Somalian heritage, died last month in Cardiff. It has been revealed that he had contact with 52 police officers during the last hours of his life.
In response to the information, lawyers have demanded that the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) — which has launched a probe into the behavior of South Wales police in the case — share evidence with Hassan’s grieving family.
More than 30,000 people have signed a petition demanding the IOPC release documents and CCTV footage showing contact between police and the victim.
Hassan was arrested in his Cardiff home on suspicion of breach of the peace. He arrived at a police station just after 10 p.m., but was released without charge the following morning.
Senior independent investigator Ian Andrews revealed that Hassan had contact with 52 police officers during his time in custody.
Andrews revealed the information during a meeting with the family of the deceased, and again during another group meeting last week.
Hilary Brown, a lawyer representing Hassan’s family, said: “They are understandably disturbed by the information. There are allegations of excessive force, and to hear that Hassan was subject to this level of police contact has been really upsetting. Then to not be given any further information about this was really difficult and completely unfair.”
South Wales police said they had found no evidence of excessive force or misconduct in the case.
IOPC Director for Wales Catrin Evans said police would examine the actions used during Hassan’s arrest and whether full assessments were made before his release.
She added that initial observations found no physical trauma injury to explain the death, and that toxicology tests would be necessary.
An IOPC spokesperson said: “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.”
Hassan’s family paid for a private post-mortem examination following his death. The results of this and another public investigation are expected to be released in the next three months. It is claimed that Hassan suffered a series of injuries during his time in custody.