Residents living in Bodurasgefaanu Magu behind the football stadium in Male’ on Monday night confronted a group of uniformed police from the Special Operations (SO) and Drug Enforcement Department (DED), alleging the officers had beaten and arrested a young boy in a case of mistaken identity.
A police officer was attacked by group of young men on Dhonadharaadh Hingun some time between 10-11pm. The residents of Bodurasgefaanu Magu claimed that the officers had returned in a group and “sought revenge” against the wrong person.
The group, consisting of 30-50 men and women, confronted the police bus and shouted at the officers.
“We were all here when a group of boys went beating a police officer, and a few minutes later this huge group of police officers came running over and severely beat the wrong boy who just arrived in the area minutes ago,’’ an elderly man in the area said, at the scene.
“We all cried and shouted to let them know that it was the wrong boy, but they would not listen they carried on hitting him in the back and head with their batons, and pushed him really hard into the bus,’’ the man said.
A second police bus later arrived in the area, where the crowd were still gathered, officers tried to talk with the people.
“Is it that you are blind or deaf that you did not hear or see all these people around here that were yelling at the top of their voice that you are beating the wrong boy,’’ a middle-aged man told the officers. “This is too much,” he said.
People gathered around the bus and began shouting at the police. The bus left the area and did not come back.
Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News that he will clarify the matter and inform the media. However he had not responded at time of press, and was not answering further calls.
Police have previously responded to similar cases by requesting that such allegations be referred to the Police Integrity Commission (PIC), which is mandated to investigate complaints of police misconduct.
President of the PIC, Shahinda Ismail, expressed concern to Minivan News this week about a growing culture of police impunity.
“It is really upsetting – a huge concern – for me that the police leadership is showing a trend where unlawful officers are acting with impunity,” she said. “This can only lead to further violence.”