A policeman who mercilessly assaulted a customer in a banking hall at Shiashie, near Legon has stirred the emotions of Ghanaians who have demanded immediate justice for the victim.
A video showing the policeman pummelling the woman whose only crime was that she had gone to the banking hall to withdraw her money has gone viral and generated public outcry.
Meanwhile, the Police Administration, in a statement, said its attention had been drawn to a video circulating on social media, showing a police officer assaulting a woman carrying a baby.
It states that the administration has identified the policeman as No. 50260 Lance Corporal Godzi Frederick Amanor, popularly known among his colleagues as Skalla, and stationed at the Accra Regional Police Operations Unit.
According to the statement, the Police Administration had already commenced investigation into his conduct. In addition, it says the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has directed the immediate arrest of the officer for criminal processes to begin.
It further condemns the behaviour of the officer as being contrary to professionalism and tenets of the ongoing police transformation programme.
The statement added that following that conduct, the Police Administration had issued a stern warning to all police officers, reminding them to desist from such human rights abuses and misconduct.
It assures the public that the outcome of investigations into the officer’s conduct shall be published.
Victim speaks out
The victim, Ms Patience Osafo, said she started going to the Midland branch to withdraw her savings since Friday, July 13, 2018, and for four days, she could not get her money totalling GH¢270, with the explanation that the financial institution was experiencing network challenges.
Ms Osafo said she sells toffees at Spanner Junction near the Accra Mall and she has been saving at Midland Savings and had managed to save GH¢270.
She noted that she decided to go and withdraw some of the money because she was broke and had borrowed some money from some friends too.
She claimed that after waiting for the whole day, the money was not given to her and she was asked to come back on Monday, July 16.
On Monday, Ms Osafo said, she went to the bank in the morning and waited the whole day and still did not get her money with the explanation that there was a network challenge.
According to her, she was there again on Tuesday and Wednesday, but was still not given the money after she waited the whole day.
Attitude of staff
On all occasions, she was asked to leave the banking hall for the office to be closed after the close of the day's work.
So last Thursday, when she arrived at the bank at about 7:30a.m and waited till about 4p.m, she vowed not to leave until the money was paid because she was broke.
She said it was during her protestations at about 4:30 p.m. that the police officer was invited to pull her out and it resulted in the scuffle and the assault.
However, she added that after the incident, all her savings totalling GH¢270 was paid in full.
She complained of pains in her ear and said she had decided to go to the nearest police station at East Legon to lodge a formal complaint.
Meanwhile, the management of the Midland Savings and Loans has issued a public apology to Ms Osafo after the video showing the brutality by the police officer went viral and generated public outrage.
A statement issued by the management of Midland confirmed that the incident took place at one of its branches. It also condemned in no uncertain terms the act of brutality meted out to the customer.
Meanwhile the Interior Minister, Mr Ambrose Dery, has condemned the incident and called for further investigations into the matter.
Mr Dery said it was unacceptable for a “policeman to be that hostile, to be so wicked and to be that barbaric to a woman.”
He said he had directed the IGP to look into the matter and deal with it immediately.
The Director-General of Corporate Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr David Eklu, said the policeman was arrested on the orders of the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) Mr David Asante-Apeatu.
In the video which has been shared widely on social media, an armed policeman is seen using an umbrella to hit the woman while she was carrying her baby on her shoulders in a banking hall.
He is also seen punching, slapping and dragging the woman on the floor of the banking hall as she holds onto the policeman’s shirt as the baby cried.
While the woman clutches the baby, wrapped in a piece of wax print, the policeman is seen kicking and pushing her around with a man in plain clothes trying to take the baby from the woman.
The baby was handed over to another woman who had entered the hall. The presence of the baby notwithstanding, the policeman continued to assault the defenceless nursing mother.
A private security man, yet to be identified, who was probably outside the banking hall, is later seen in the video pulling the victim outside as Lance Corporal Amanor threw her personal belongings outside of the banking hall.
The policeman at the centre of the assault’s AK47 rifle fell off in the scuffle but he picked it up and followed the victim outside the bank.
Someone was heard saying in the background that, “she should be given her money” with another asking, “How much is her money”?
The man in plain clothes is also heard saying, “Madam, I will give you the 250”. A few people who had gathered are seen brokering peace and urging Lance Corporal Amanor to stop assaulting the woman.
Minister of Gender
Commenting on the issue, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, condemned the act and said she was sad and that the entire country must be sad too.
“The law is no respecter of persons and it must be enforced strictly in this case. This cannot be accepted from anyone, especially not from a security officer in uniform who is mandated to protect the public,” she said.
Ms Djaba described the act as criminal and constituting a second degree felony which was liable to a prison sentence not exceeding 10 years at the discretion of the judge who will sit on the case.
She sympathised with the victim and said the ministry would follow up to ensure that justice was served.
Midland Savings and Loans, the financial institution to which the policeman was attached, has, in a statement, apologised to the woman who has been confirmed to be a customer of the bank.
It assured the public that it would partner with the police to get to the bottom of the matter to “ensure that our client gets justice”, adding that the bank cared about the welfare of its customers.
Graphic launches appeal
The Daily Graphic has launched an appeal on behalf of the woman, assaulted by the Lance Corporal Amanor, to kind-hearted Ghanaians touched by the assault on the woman to the woman. All donations should be sent to the Corporate Communications Department at the head office, Accra.