Suspect with blood-stained shirt wasn’t injured during arrest – SWAT Commander

The National Security’s SWAT team Commander, DSP Samuel Azugu has said that he was very surprised to see one of the suspects his team arrested during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election with a blood-stained shirt on television.

He said he believes the suspect deliberately soiled the shirt with blood to suggest that he had been brutalized by the SWAT team.

Testifying before the Emile Short Commission of Inquiry, DSP Azugu said although his men acted unprofessionally in the way they handled the suspects, none of them sustained any visible injury.

“We didn’t handle them [arrested persons] in a professional way, [the way] they were taught to…. Based on that, we have initiated disciplinary actions. Their idea of minimum force that we saw on TV was too much for all of us…. 9 persons were arrested. Some of them surrundered peacefully and were taken to the vehicle but some decided to run away from lawful arrest and the boys pounced on them”

The commission is looking into the violence that occurred during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election in January 31, 2019.

An exhibit that came before the Emile Short commission last week showed that one of the arrested men had blood stains in his shirt, with suggestions that the SWAT team from National Security that arrested the suspect had badly assaulted the suspect before taking him with others to the police station.

The East Legon Police Commander, DSP George Lysander Asare in his testimony last week confirmed that one of the suspects brought in by the SWAT team of National Security had a cut on his head and blood stains in his shirt.

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While admitting that medical forms were not issued to the injured person to seek medical attention, he said the National Security operatives later ensured the release of the suspects in his absence when he left the police station to cast his vote.

“The national security officer that came [DSP Azugu] made me aware that they will come for them [the suspects] and because we were also made to understand the whole exercise is being handled at the regional level, we knew the people will come for them. But I called the regional officer and informed him about the arrest and he came there and they were released but in my absence. I got to know of this when I came back,” he said.

But DSP Azugu in his testimony on Monday said the suspect did not have any stain in his shirt at the time of the arrest.

“I believe for one reason or the other, later when we he left, he used that singlet to wipe the blood that may be coming from his cut which I did not see but at the time I took him to the police station, his singlet was not soaked in blood.”

“Later on, when I saw that gentleman in the media. When I saw the blood on him, I was like wow. How come this was there and I didn’t see it,” he said.

DSP Azugu however said it was imperative for the suspect to explain how he sustained the cut on his head, noting that, “so far as my men were the arresting officers, anything that happens to the suspects can be attributed to them but it is up to the victim to establish as to how he came to sustain that injury. Whether he fell over and hit his head on something or whether one of my men used something [on him].”

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