Family of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan demand release of bodycam footage a year after his death

Mohamud Mohammed Hassan

The "tortured" family of a man who was found dead after being released from police custody are demanding access to the body-worn camera footage a year on from his death.

Mohamud Mohammed Hassan, 24, was arrested at his flat in Newport Road, Cardiff, on 9 January last year on suspicion of a breach of the peace.

He was taken to Cardiff Bay police station at about 10pm and released without charge the next morning. He died later that day.

The expectant father's family claim he returned home that day battered and bruised after being assaulted by police officers during his time in custody.

A post-mortem examination failed to establish the cause of Mr Hassan's death.

An inquest into his death will be held at South Wales Central Coroner's Court in Pontypridd in May.

Several protests and vigils were held outside Cardiff Bay police station in the months that followed Mr Hassan's death.

Meanwhile an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is still under way.

Six members of South Wales Police, four officers and two custody sergeants, have been served misconduct notices.

But on the first anniversary of Mr Hassan's death, his family have called for "honesty and answers".

They said they believe both the police force and IOPC "have conspired to cover up, obscure, frustrate, delay and dispute" their search for the truth, and want the footage from Mr Hassan's night in the cells to be released immediately.

The IOPC has not released the footage in case it is needed as evidence for criminal, misconduct, or inquest proceedings.

Mr Hassan spent a night in the cells at Cardiff Bay police station.

The family said: "Had the footage of Mohamud's last moments been released to us, then we would have been spared the slow torturous agony of consistently speculating day by day on precisely what happened to him that awful night.

"We believe that all families of those that die in suspicious circumstances in police custody should have an automatic right enshrined in law to get immediate access to police bodycam footage showing exactly what happened during their final moments on this earth.

"In stark contrast, we see in the US, after a death in police custody, police bodycam videos being released on demand to families in the immediate aftermath of such incidents.

"One year on from the untimely and suspicious death of our beloved family member we remain in shock at the treatment we received from IOPC throughout the last year."

IOPC says its investigation into police contact prior to Mohamud's death is "well advanced and nearing completion", with a substantial investigation report also being finalised.

Catrin Evans, IOPC Director for Wales, said: "While we appreciate how very difficult this past year has been for Mr Hassan’s family and their understandable need to know the circumstances surrounding his death, it has been vital that we pursue every possible line of enquiry.

"We continue to liaise with the Coroner, and work towards sharing video footage and other evidential material with Mr Hassan’s family and legal representative as soon as we are able. We also need to take account of the need to safeguard the inquest into his death, which may be heard before a jury, and other potential future proceedings. “We have reviewed a very large amount of evidence including detailed accounts from dozens of officers involved either directly or indirectly, accounts from family members, police body worn video footage, CCTV footage, photographs, police radio transmissions and call logs. Investigators examined the police cell in which Mr Hassan was detained and visited the property in Newport Road to view the scene and secure relevant evidence. “Notices we previously served on six individuals at the force, five police officers and one custody detention officer, advising them their conduct is subject to investigation, remain in place.

"At the conclusion of our investigation, we will decide whether any officer or member of staff under notice has a disciplinary case to answer. Publication of our full findings will be dependent on the timing of any future proceedings."

Several protests and vigils were held outside Cardiff Bay police station in the months that followed Mr Hassan's death.

The family have the support of Shavanah Taj, general secretary of the Wales TUC, who said: "Given historical allegations of institutional racism levelled at South Wales Police and other recent cases of police brutality, we need to ensure that the investigation is subjected to independent legal scrutiny, supported by independent expert witnesses."

Zita Holbourne, national chairwoman and co-founder of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, added: "It's a national scandal that a year on the Hassan family have no idea how Mohamud died, and yet both the IOPC and South Wales Police have had unrestricted access to this footage.

"It's utterly unacceptable, and the attorney general should instruct the IOPC to release the police bodycam footage immediately."

Campaign spokesman Lee Jasper said: "The release of this footage should be a matter of human rights and families should be given unrestricted access to police bodycam footage.

"We call on the public to support this critical demand."

A spokesperson for South Wales Police said: "We can only imagine how difficult the past year has been for Mohamud Hassan’s family and the pain and grief that they are enduring after his death.

"The force continues to fully co-operate with the IOPC investigation and has provided them with information and material, including CCTV footage and body-worn video.

"We acknowledge the impact Mr Hassan's death has had on his family, friends and the wider community. Our thoughts and condolences continue to be with them."