Missiles thrown at police in Cardiff after 24-year-old dies following arrest

12 January 2021, 19:50

Protesters marched through Cardiff city centre to a local police station
Protesters marched through Cardiff city centre to a local police station. Picture: LBC
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Unrest has broken out in Cardiff following the death of a 24-year-old man who was allegedly assaulted while in custody.

Fireworks and smokebombs were thrown at officers outside Cardiff Bay Police Station, where hundreds gathered on Tuesday afternoon to demand "justice" for Mohamud Mohammed Hassan and the release of CCTV of his time in the custody.

The crowd chanted "no justice, no peace" as they made their way to the police station and held up signs that read "Black Lives Matter" and "stop police brutality".

Some members of the crowed also shouted "murderers" and "Which one of you killed him" as tensions overflowed.

Mr Hassan was arrested on Friday evening after reports of a disturbance at his home but released the following morning without charge.

He was found dead at the same property later on Saturday evening.

While police described his death as "sudden and unexplained" and say there were no indications of misconduct or excessive force, his family claims he had been assaulted while in custody.

A line of police officers formed a line outside Cardiff Bay Police Station
A line of police officers formed a line outside Cardiff Bay Police Station. Picture: LBC

Mr Hassan's aunt Zainab Hassan told reporters he was released on Saturday morning "with lots of wounds on his body and lots of bruises".

"He didn't have these wounds when he was arrested and when he came out of Cardiff Bay police station, he had them.

"Nothing we do is going to bring him back but we will not rest for a second until we have justice."

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said on Tuesday evening that a report from the post mortem "is awaited" but "preliminary indications are that there is no physical trauma injury to explain a cause of death, and toxicology tests are required.”

Smoke grenades were set off during protests outside Cardiff Bay Police Station
Smoke grenades were set off during protests outside Cardiff Bay Police Station. Picture: PA Images

Protester Bianca Ali, 29, told LBC she was "extremely angry" after hearing about the incident.

"I've been shaken since the moment I heard this news, I've been shaking physically and I'm incredibly angry."

First minister Mark Drakeford said he had found reports of Mr Hassan's death "deeply concerning" and said the circumstances "must be properly investigated".

He said: "I understand that the police have already referred, as they would have to, this matter to the independent police investigation service.

"The first step in any inquiry will have to be to allow them to carry out their work. I absolutely expect that to be done rigorously, and with full and visible independence."

Protesters left signs outside the police station following the protest
Protesters left signs outside the police station following the protest. Picture: LBC

He added the Welsh Government will be on hand to support people "without prejudging in any way the outcome of the independent investigations that now need to follow".

Neil McEvoy, MS for South Wales Central in the Senedd, also attended the protest and said he wanted to see transparency from the police and the officers involved suspended from duty pending an investigation.

He claims South Wales Police have a "bad history" with black communities, including the wrongful conviction of three Cardiff men for the murder of Lynette White in 1988.

Mr Hassan's post-mortem was due to take place on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, an IOPC investigation continues into the circumstances surrounding Mr Hassan's death.