BBC Wales investigates the deaths of two black men: police in the spotlight

TONIGHT 24/1/22, 7.30pm, BBC One Wales

THE FAMILIES of two men who died within weeks of each other after incidents involving Welsh police forces have spoken for the first time about their fight for justice.

Mohamud Hassan, 24, and Mouayed Bashir, 29, died weeks apart in separate incidents after coming into contact with police.

Both of their deaths have sparked protests – in Cardiff and Newport – as family, friends and members of their communities have raised concerns about the circumstances of their deaths.

In January last year, police were called to the shared house in Roath, Cardiff, where Mohamud was living in a basement flat. The police arrested him on suspicion of disturbing public order; he spent the night in a cell at Cardiff Bay police station; and was released the following morning without charge.

He saw his aunt, Zainab Hassan, and his uncle, Sulieman Mohamed, after his release.

“He came to us. As soon as I opened the door, I was literally shocked,” Sulieman said.

“His upper lip was completely open. He had blood all over his top, his sweatpants.

Zainab added: “He had bruises on his arms. On his chest when he lifted his sweater, you could only see marks – red, even black. It was shocking.

“I said my nephew, what happened to you? It’s like it’s the police. I said how and why? He said “I don’t know uncle,” Sulieman said.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating his death and the actions of six officers are being reviewed for alleged misconduct.

The autopsy could not establish the cause of Mr. Hassan’s death. The IOPC says its investigation is nearing completion; and his inquest is due to take place in May 2023.

South Wales Police said they were unable to comment on specifics due to the ongoing investigation by the IOPC Fund, with which they say they are cooperating fully. He also acknowledged the impact of Mr. Hassan’s death on his family, friends and wider community; and said their thoughts and condolences are with them.

Mouayed Bashir died after police came to his home in Maesglas, Newport, in February 2021. His family said they were trying to get an ambulance to come because Mouayed was having a mental health crisis – but instead the police arrived.

“He was expecting paramedics, but instead black-uniformed police arrived with brutal force,” Mouayed’s brother Mohannad Bashir said.

Mohamud Hassan, 24, and Mouayed Bashir, 29, died weeks apart in separate incidents after coming into contact with police.

Mouayed had been stabbed three weeks before his death; and when the police arrived at his home, he still had a large, deep wound in his leg.

Mohannad added, “When the police restrained him, they handcuffed him, tied his legs and thighs. My father said to the police “he is already injured. He is bleeding from his thigh again. Please let go of his handcuffs and let go of his legs.

The autopsy did not establish the cause of Mouayed Bashir’s death. IOPC says it is finalizing its investigation into his death; and its publication will depend on discussions with the coroner. His inquest is due to take place in July.

Gwent Police said they were unable to answer specific questions before the conclusion of the inquiry and the IOPC Fund’s investigation. He pointed out that no officer had received a notice of misconduct.

The force also said a risk assessment is carried out when receiving a 999 call and police officers may be asked to support paramedics. The ambulance service said they were sorry their response fell short of the Bashir family’s expectations.

Mouayed Bashir’s family plan to mark the anniversary of his death next month in Newport.

Mohannad said, “If we don’t fight and stand up for others, for what happened to Mouayed, there’s just going to be another case. We want to do our part. We also want to do this for the good of Mouayed.

Mohamud Hassan’s family will have to wait another 16 months to know all the facts of his death.

“I don’t remember anything else about my nephew. All those beautiful memories I had of him, it’s as if they were gone. They were wiped out. And I have no answers. I don’t think any words can describe the pain.

Watch BBC Wales Investigates: Death of Two Black Men: Police in Spotlight on BBC One Wales at 7.30pm GMT on Monday 24 January and then on BBC iPlayer.

About John McTaggart

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