Sack IGP now! – Media coalition tells Akufo-Addo
A group of media practitioners in Ghana are preparing to petition the President in one week if the Inspector General of Police (IGP) fails to release a detailed report on how Multimedia Journalist was brutalised at the police this year.
Latif Iddrisu was covering the arrest of National Democratic Congress (NDC) Deputy General Secretary, Koku Anyidoho, in March when he was beaten by some police officers at the Police Headquarters in Accra.
Meanwhile, Latif is still nursing a fractured skull as a result of the brutality he suffered at the hands of the police officers.
Police have blamed a non-functional CCTV at the police headquarters for their inability to bring the officers that brutalised the Journalist to book.
Convener of the Press for Justice Coalition and United Press for Development Network, Kofi Asante Mensah, has described the IGP, David Asante-Apeatu as incompetent for his inability to identify the officers involved in the unfortunate incident which occurred in his own premise.
“We won’t shut up. We will push until our last drop of blood falls…we will first petition the President that this is what we have been going through for the past three months; we’ve heard nothing from his Inspector General of Police. We will show him that his IGP is incompetent and he should get him removed.
“This is Accra, at your headquarters, and you are telling us your CCTV is not working and you are there as IGP, for what? If Latif was [IGP’s] child, would he be happy?” he quizzed.
When the dastardly act hit the headlines and following the lodging of an official complaint by Latif at the Cantonments Police Station on March 29, 2018, police was compelled to launch an investigation into the incident.
It has been 105 days since the probe began but none of the officers on duty that day have been arrested or indicted.
Read Multimedia Group’s official account of events following the attack on the Journalist
On the 27th of March, 2018, Multimedia Journalist, Latif Iddrisu was on duty at the CID Headquarters in Accra, reporting on the BNI’s arrest of Koku Anyidoho, deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress. He approached one of the armed police officers with a question about their crowd control equipment. This officer, enraged by the question, attacked the journalist. His fellow officers then joined in, dragging Latif into the CID compound, where they continued to assault him.
They punched, kicked and hit his head with rifle butts repeatedly, for several minutes, until a female police officer intervened and begged the men to stop the brutal mauling. Latif sustained several injuries, including a fractured skull. Four months later, he continues to suffer the lingering physical effects of the crushing blows delivered to his unprotected head by the men in uniform from who would have sought protection.
The police launched an investigation into this incident, after an official complaint was lodged by Latif at the Cantonments Police Station two days later, on the 29th March 2018.
It has been 105 days since this investigation began and none of the officers on duty that day have been arrested or indicted. This is what we know about the status and progress or lack of it, in the investigations so far.
The Cantonments Police Station issued Latif with a Police Medical form to be completed and endorsed by a Medical Officer. He duly returned the completed form on the 6th of April 2018.
A Police delegation followed up with a visit on the 9th of April, and met with Elvis Kwashie, Managing News Editor of Joy News. In this meeting, the Director General of Public Affairs for the Ghana Police Service, ACP David Eklu, offered GHC3000 towards Latif’s Medical Bills. Elvis Kwashie called in News Editors, Araba Koomson and Fred Smith, to film the donation for a news story. ACP EKLU declined, saying the money was a personal donation from the IGP, and not an official contribution from the Ghana Police, so he did not want it to be made public.
A week later, investigators from the Police Professional Standards Bureau visited the Kokomlemle premises of The Multimedia Group where Latif works to interview Joy News Journalist, Parker Wilson and Camera Technician, Joel Nana Oduro, the two witnesses Latif had named in his official complaint.
A month after the Police Professional Standards Bureau interviewed the witnesses named by Latif, the Police appeared to stall in the investigation, compelling The Multimedia Group to write to the Police, requesting an update.
On the 8th of May, MGL also made a formal complaint to the National Media Commission about the affair. The NMC held two meetings with the Police and Multimedia. At these meetings, the Police proposed an out-of-court settlement, claiming it would be difficult to prove a criminal case, since all the officers on duty that day have denied knowledge of Latif’s assault. MGL responded that they would consult their legal team and revert.
The Cantonments Police replied on May 11, 2018 with an update, in which they claimed Latif had not produced his two witnesses. In spite of the fact that the witnesses had indeed been interviewed by PPSB, they both reported to the Cantonments Police Station within a few days, and gave their statements again.
On Monday 9th July 2018, ACP Eklu spoke to Joy News Editor, Araba Koomson, who was querying the lack of progress in the investigation. She asked about the female officer who intervened and begged those beating Latif to stop. Eklu responded that all the officers – male and female who were on duty that day have denied knowledge of the assault.
Following continued public agitation, the Police issued a statement dated 10 July to update the public on their investigation. The statement made a number of claims:That” the Police Administration supported Mr. Iddrisu to offset his initial medical expenses”. This is disingenuous. GHC3000 was offered as a personal contribution from the IGP. They refused to have this donation made public for the express reason that it was not an official donation from the Ghana Police.
That Latif “stated in his written statement that he has two principal witnesses to testify in his favour, for which reason he was told to produce the two witnesses to assist in investigation.
He was also issued a Police medical report form, which he is yet to return to Police”. This is completely untrue. Both witnesses, Parker Wilson and Joel Nana Oduro, have each been interviewed twice by the Police since the commencement of this investigation. Also, in the Police’s own update letter to MGL dated 9 May 2018, the District Superintendent of the Cantonments Police Station, William Asante, wrote, “On 6/4/2018, the Complainant returned a duly endorsed Medical Report Form and submitted a written statement”.
It has been more than three months since this assault occurred at the CID headquarters. None of those on duty that day have been arrested for the crime.