Policeman used baton according to regulations, no police involvement in Gasim’s death: PC Riyaz

Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz has said that an officer implicated in a collision that left a bystander dead had acted in accordance with regulations on tackling suspects.

Abdulla Gasim Ibrahim passed away following an incident near the Justice Building on August 17 last year, when an officer attempted to stop a fleeing motorcycle by stepping in front of the vehicle with his baton raised. The motorcycle then lost control and crashed into Gasim, who was parked on the side of the road on his motorcycle.

Leaked footage of the incident appears to show the officer hitting the vehicle’s driver with a baton.

Police stated back in August that Gasim had died following an accident where a fleeing motorcycle had crashed into him, failing to mention any involvement of the police officer.

The Maldives Police Service stated in December that the motorcycle which the men had been riding was also stolen property.

Commissioner Riyaz today told parliament’s Committee on Oversight of the Executive that the officer seen holding the baton had not acted illegally through his actions depicted in the footage.

Riyaz had been summoned before the committee to answer questions over alleged police involvement in the death of Gasim.

Speaking at the committee meeting today, the police commissioner stated that an investigation conducted by the Police Standards Command had reached the conclusion that Constable Moosa Shamil – the officer seen in the video – had used the baton to stop a suspected criminal in accordance with the existing regulations (Dhivehi).

Riyaz added that Shamil had completed and excelled at a two-day programme on baton use held by the Police Academy last March.

When some MPs raised the point that the video depicted Constable Shamil hitting the fleeing motorists with a lot of force using a baton, Riyaz replied that that could only be determined through checking forensic reports.

“I think that even taking a look from our eyes is enough to tell how much chance there is that the baton actually hit the man who is said to have been hit and injured by it,” he said.

While expressing regrets at the loss of a life in the incident, Riyaz praised Constable Shamil saying he would “salute” him for he had displayed “courage in having gone onto the street to stop the motorcycle at the expense of risk to his own life”.

He told the committee that police had submitted the case of Gasim’s death along with the case of the suspected thieves fleeing on a motorcycle to the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office. Riyaz added that statements had been provided from police who had arrived at the scene as well as those of the officer who had attempted to stop the motorcycle.

He added that if there was a matter of police negligence in the incident, then the PG had the option of pressing charges against them.

Responding to statements by committee members that the family of Gasim had said they had received no communications from the police, Riyaz said the police had obtained a statement from Gasim’s eldest son, 18 year-old Gais Gasim.

According to the commissioner, the Maldives Police Service had been sharing updates with the widow of Gasim, Naseema Khaleel throughout the investigation. Riyaz stated that they had asked Gasim’s family as whether they wished for the guilty to be given the death penalty.

No communication initiated by police

Responding today to Riyaz’s comments, Naseema maintained claims that her family had rarely heard from the police regarding the investigation.

“We seldom heard from the police at all. We continued to call and ask for updates though, and the response we kept getting was that the investigation was going on,” Naseema said.

Naseema added that the PIC had also been vague and unresponsive about their investigations.

“We did hear from them at one point though, when they called and asked for Gasim’s heirs names and contact details. When I provided details, they then called our son, who became 18 years old in January, and summoned him to the police station once,” she said.

“”He has just turned 18 and one can’t really say he is an adult as such. Police asked him questions and he responded as he felt at the time. Police never told me or any guardians that he had been summoned there. That’s what Riyaz referred to today when he claimed family had been kept updated. That is not really the case,” Naseema continued.

“I am extremely disappointed after listening to what happened at that committee meeting today. What about the man who died? Is there no justice for him?”

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz was not responding to calls at the time of press.

Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizzu and Vice President of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives Ahmed Tholal were also not available for comment.

Leaked video

Riyaz also stated today that police were looking into how the video footage of the incident had been leaked onto social media.

The commissioner said that the investigation had revealed that the footage was from a police-owned CCTV and had been leaked from inside the police institution, describing it as “a very serious problem”.

He said that there were systems in place to determine that the video had indeed been leaked by police, and that leaking footage used in an investigation was in breach of the Police Code of Conduct.

He stated that the police would find out who was responsible for the leak and would take action against him within legal boundaries.

He pointed out that there had been previous instances where police officers who had committed similar acts had been dismissed from their posts.

PIC Investigation

Meanwhile, the Police Integrity Commission had previously stated on December 3, 2012 that they were nearing completion of their investigation into allegations of police involvement in the death of Gasim.

On September 24, 2012, Gasim’s wife had submitted a letter to the PIC requesting them to look into the incident. PIC Director General Fathimath Sarira had confirmed at the time that the PIC had received the leaked footage prior to it being leaked in social media.

Responding to a question by Minivan News as to why the Commissioner had stated Constable Shamil to be free of fault before the PIC had concluded their investigation, Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef said the investigations were treated as two separate matters.

“As per our investigation, there is no negligence in this case from the side of the police officer. If PIC finds there is an issue, or a place like HRCM conducts an investigation and finds there is an issue here, then we will act on those findings accordingly,” he said.

Article 41(c) of the Police Act states that Maldives Police Service should inform the PIC upon the occurrence of death or infliction of grave bodily injury to a person due to the use of force by a police officer.

Asked last December if police had in accordance with the said article notified PIC of the incident, Sarira had stated at the time that: “Police has notified the commission about the accident over a phone call. Although, when we first heard of the case, it was only said that a speeding motorcycle had collided with a parked one and led to a death. But then later, we got the footage too.”

Minivan News asked poliec inspector Haneef why police had not mentioned the involvement of Constable Shamil to either the PIC or the public. Haneef responded saying, “Even I initially knew of it as an accident. We wouldn’t know all the details at once. We learn facts as the investigation moves forward. It was portrayed as a cover-up in coverage, but we say it was an accident as that is what our investigations state it is.”


17 thoughts on “Policeman used baton according to regulations, no police involvement in Gasim’s death: PC Riyaz”

  1. Yes, he did. Then his buddies roughly manhandled the victim, dropping him twice in their rush to tamper with the crime scene.

    The police are guilty. They will be punished.

  2. The police integrity commission needs to question the commissioner as well as the policeman involved on the use of the baton. Batons are used to slow down fleeing suspects. Batons is considered as one of the least harmful weapons carried by the police to enforce the law. But when the police use the baton to hit the head of a suspect speeding fast on a motor bike, that is a totally different and is considered misuse of the baton. A blow to the head will not only slow down the suspect but will cause a road accident as it surely did in this case. The policeman did not act accordingly, he had panicked and made a fatal error in judgement. And that policeman cannot walk free with a clean conscience. If an MDP party thug had hit the head of this fleeing suspect to cause this accident, the whole of Maldives know police commissioner cannot wait 24 hours before releasing this video and taking that person into custody under the murder charge of Gasim. So commissioner please be professional, your integrity is in question.

  3. The key issue here is a LIFE WAS LOST. That too of an innocent bystander.
    1. He died because a motorcycle crashed onto him.
    2. The driver of the offending motorcycle crashed onto the victim because he lost control of the motorcycle.
    3. He lost control of the motorcycle because a person stepped onto the road in front of him an hit him with an object.
    4. A Police Officer stepped in front of the speeding motorcycle and hit the driver with a baton.
    To step in front of a speeding vehicle is stupidity and hitting it's driver is madness. If this is standard practice of MPS it should be reviewed and removed immediately. An ex-police officer told me that according to Police procedures a baton can only be used defensively. Abdulla Riyaz is lying to cover up a stupid decision of a Police Officer which resulted in the loss of an innocent life.

  4. what i learned from here.
    - The commissioner is corrup and unjustified...unfit for the post
    - police hiding evidence
    - defending a guilty man
    - we cannot stand up for our rights
    - why police did not mention accident details to family
    - why info ws missing on reports submitted
    - so now we have a name..cn v confirm if he had done da basic training? even i can do baton training..but unless u dont do da basic training,ur nt undr oath n nt trained.
    - vot is da justice for the dead man n his family:
    - COPS; u already failed reputation.y nt do dis justice n try amend.y u protect?maybe the cop ws doin his job.bt sum1 dies here bcz of this poicemans inability to understand general physics?i mean this is stupid to start with.

  5. After the coup, Riyaz has no choice but to defend police officers, no matter what crime they commit. This country can't grow and develop with coup leaders. Elections now!

  6. What you see here is the best British training put into work. PC Zorro should get a knighthood.

  7. A British Police Force would take a different view, as would a British Court. The reasoning used by Mohamed Rasheed is entirely correct, as a retired Police Officer I agree totally. In any reasonable justice system, Constable Shamil would be charged with manslaughter and in my view would be convicted. Relatives of the deceased would also be in line for financial compensation. Instead, he is commended for his reckless action. The Maldives is going downhill, rapidly.

  8. The death of Gasim falls on the driver of the motorcycle.

    The policeman was unwise in using the baton without fully realising his surroundings, and whether any of his actions would have implications on bystanders. It is regretable that his action contributed at least partially to the sequence of events that transpired whose consequence was the death of Gasim.

    However this does not negate key facts in the issue.

    If the driver of the stolen motorcycle who had been pursued by police vehicles at that time, and who had been called out to stop by the police, yet had continued at speeds as if he had been participating in a Formula 1 race ignoring the fact that if he had crashed into someone that would have fatal consequences, if this driver had slowed down at least, then the impact of the crash would not have been that violent and less lethal.

    Had it been any normal person, he would have heeded the calls of the police and would have slowed down. But this was no normal person, the driver knew he was riding a stolen motorcycle, that he had committed a theft of a phone earlier, and he knew if he stopped or slow down, then he would be caught.

    He didnt slow down because he did not want to get caught by the police.

    He, the robber, was fully aware that driving at these speeds he might crash into someone. Yet he chose to take that risk. By doing so, he made the decision, that should he crash into someone he was okay with that. The driver decided he was okay with someone getting hurt or dying during an accident as long as he got away with his stolen cycle and stolen phone.

    If the driver had slowed down the least, then Gasim might have survived.

    We see these kinds of reckless drivers everyday. Who ride around Male' at 100mph, ignoring traffic lights and blaring their horns. Who think nothing about others or the fact that an accident might occur, and think thats its cool to put the lives of others on the line so they can have their joyrides.

    Such a driver was the reason that Gasim died.

    If the driver had not stolen the motorcycle...
    If the driver had heeded the call of police...
    If the driver had stopped...
    If the driver had swerved right instead of left of the policeman who had swung the baton...
    If the driver had at least slowed down...
    then Gasims death would not have occured.

    This incident needs to be investigated by a professional independent body, to learn the contributing factors that led to the eventual demise of Gasim. And the proportions that the key participants in this incident played in the death of gasim.

    If the findings reveal that the policeman is implicateable, then criminal proceedings should be taken against him.

    But for now , actions should be taken against the driver this moment itself, since it was his actions of theft, not heeding the call of police, driving at super speeds, and reckless driving, since these were the major contributing factor's in the death of Gasim, the charge of homicide should be raised against the driver.

    From this incident we must ask ourself the question, who will we set out to blame, a police officer who stepped out to stop a criminal, or a criminal who chose to committ crimes and flee from the police, and whose reckless driving resulted in the death of a person.

  9. Totally agree with Mohamed Rasheed on Fri, 11th Jan 2013 8:17 AM.

    Abdulla Riyaz is well aware of and is capable of lying to win sentiment. And all the while he buttering both the sides of the slice he had in hand, and was sweet talking the committee and media despite of having to swallow what MP Jabir attacked him with.

    MP Jabir was not wrong in his question, immaterial of the fact that he was on the other side of the fence when Abdulla Riyaz was selected and appointed as PC!

    This however cannot go back into the space of time with ifs and buts with the view point of creation of mankind, the baton, the motor bicycle and the mobile phone and etc., etc.!

    Here we have to think common sense and judge common values!

    Very true! A life was lost due to the incompetency of a Police who should have thought of better ideas to capture the speeding motorists who is said to have stolen a motor cycle and mobile phone which even if valued is seemingly of less value to a life lost!

    To my belief, the Police Officer should have NOT resorted to baton down the speeding motorists who would could have been stopped much much quickly and in more appropriate ways than attacking with a baton and especially on a crowded street!

    To my belief, it was not the creation of mankind, the making of the baton, the motor bicycle or the mobile phone that dislodged the motorists from a speeding motor bicycle which lost control and hit a bystander who lost his life!

    It was the use of the use of the baton by the Police Officer that did it all!

  10. If police would have known that this is going to cost a life i doubt that they would have done it.

    The speeding guy had a track record of crimes and it is not the first time he had committed any crime.

    The police officer may have done this to stop the criminal and may not be aware of the passing by motor cycle guy would stop by to watch the scene.

    This is not because of the failure of Police and it is just an accident and was not intentional.

    There ar many accidents happening in this country and else where else and we can not ask police to hold the responsibilities of each of those accidents.

    During Nahseed regime, we have also seen some uniform officers openly taking bribes and involved in armed robbery too. But this does not mean that we can blame the entire institution .

  11. If the police was not stopped that two criminal and for suppose that two guy went at a speed and have accident to your child then what you will say? You will say why police is not stopped?why police is not applying traffic law to them.? why why why?...

  12. @"PatrioticMaldivian"

    You blame the police who so roughly pushed the victim into a police vehicle, dropping him several times; the police who were so desperate to tamper with the crime scene.

  13. @ Omar Hassan

    No. I am blaming the driver of the motorcycle. Who was driving at SUCH A SPEED that the accident sent Qasim flying into the air.

    Refer here to the CCTV footage.


    At 0:10 seconds into the video, the policeman can be seen moving from the middle of the road to the left.

    At 0:11 seconds he swings the baton. one frame after that, and miliseconds before the crash, the (robber) driver's head is still upright, and the cycle is still moving straight. Straight into gasim. The (robber) driver doesnt seem affected, their head's position havent changed. It cannot be deduced that the impact of the baton occured to the driver or the guy sitting behind, because the CCTV footage seems to be shot only in 3 frames per second. If a severe blow had occured to the head, then the most obvious reflex of the body would be to duck or shift his head. But the drivers head remains upright.

    at 0:12 seconds the crash occurs and gasim is sent flying into the road and probably hits his head.

    It was THE SPEED of this crash that made this accident so lethal. If the driver were driving at normal speeds, then the crash would only have toppled the cycle. But THE SPEED of the cycle is so great that collision of the two cycles sends Gasim flying 20 feet into the air.

    Now you tell me Omar, is that speed an okay speed to drive ? A legal speed to drive ? Would just a casually driven cycle send a man flying 20 feet into the air during an accident ?

    The answer is no.

    This was not a casually driven cycle. This was a person driving for his life. Probably at 100 - 120 miles per hour. Uncaring about whether an accident might occur. Only thought in his mind is to get away, at the highest speed possible.

    The driver of the motorcycle made the calculated risk that he could continue at this raced speed, and he took the risk to swerve from the policeman so as to dodge the policeman and continue. Which was what led him into crashing. If he had stopped or at least he had slowed down, this crash wouldnt have been so severe, and Qasim wouldnt have been thrown 20 feet into the air, which led to such severe injuries.

    A couple of other things noticeable from the video. It seems the police dropped Qasim while shifting the guy into the van. What the heck man ?

  14. If this is how a police man is allowed to use a baton, we need to change it.

  15. I don't like how this situation was handled at all. Yes, the constable may not have intended for the bystander but it was reckless for him to hit and hit a suspect on a moving vehicle with a baton. Even if it was an accident, he should face some kind of punishment for his actions because this is real life not a Hollywood or a Salman Khan movie.

    I believe the real heroes in this situation are the ones who leaked the footage to the public. Good on them and the fact that the Police makes it a priority to punish speaks all the more of which side of the moral spectrum they fall on.

    Nowadays, the police have become just as bad as the very criminals they fight against.

  16. @patrioticMaldivian

    I see you've noticed.

    Good, good. Now tell me - what happens to a man with severe brain damage when he's dropped like that?


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