West Hills Mall incident: The end of a police investigation that robbed victim’s family of public sympathy
The police, they say, is your friend, but that may not always be the case. Recent instances of police brutality against citizens from across the world, plus other instances where officers of the law have been engaged in illegal activities, lend credence to this.
Perpetual Didier, a gospel musician and brother to the late Shadrach Arloo, 32, was the first to break the news of what she alleged was an assault on the deceased, leading to his death.
Bitter and angry about what she believed happened, the musician went on Facebook Live and described all she knew, calling out a certain uniformed policeman at the West Hills Mall in Accra for being the cause of her brother’s death.
‘A policeman killed my brother at West Hills Mall’ – Perpetual narrates what happened:
The singer said that the incident happened at the West Hills Mall in Accra on January 30, 2022.
She explained that her 32-year-old brother was brutally assaulted by the uniformed policemen, leading to his untimely death, and for this reason, she wanted the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to act.
“Someone should tag the IGP. I need justice for my brother. Tell him that this is a crime one of his men has done to my family by killing my brother. We are all Ghanaians with equal rights and freedom. Why will you use your position to take someone’s life?” she said in her Facebook Live video, amidst tears.
Shadrach was about to travel:
Something else hurt Perpetual Didier more as she narrated her story: her brother had gone to the West Hills Mall to withdraw money in order to purchase some items intended to be sent to his sister in Germany.
She added that, from what an eyewitness told her, the police demanded that her brother hand over his bag to be searched, but he refused.
What Perpetual believed the policeman did to her brother:
According to a report by graphic.com.gh, Perpetual claimed in her video that at that point, the police officer got agitated and then started hitting and pushing Shadrach to the ground.
She added that her brother fell to the ground and hit his head on the floor, breaking his neck in the process.
He is said to have lost consciousness, at which time the police officer tased the motionless man on the floor.
Police reacts, West Hills Mall management explains side of things:
In court, the prosecution, led by Inspector M. Kwakye told the Sowutuom District Court, presided over by Stephen Tabiri, that no physical mark of assault was found on the body of Shadrach Arloo.
According to a chronicle report, the prosecution further informed the court that the incident happened when the deceased tried struggling with a police officer whose attention he had caught earlier.
The brief facts presented by Inspector Kwakye indicated that the complainant in the case is Bernard Barnor Denkyi, an Operation Manager of West Hills Mall.
The accused, Boafo Osei Kwame, who reportedly used a taser on the deceased after he fell, is also the Shop Manager of Max Buy Ghana Limited, dealers of Electronic Appliances – located within the West Hills Mall.
According to the prosecution, on January 30, 2023, Police Sergeant Daniel Abeiku was detailed to perform a duty at the West Hills Mall. While patrolling in the mall, he saw the deceased and one Ibrahim Seshi, who is now a witness in the case, both carrying backpacks.
The said police officer stopped them for a search upon suspicion that he was possessing drugs or banned substances.
Shadrach is said to have taken out something from his bag and swallowed it as the policeman approached him.
The mall’s cameras subsequently captured footage of the officer apprehending the young man together with another he was with as they headed for the main entrance of the mall.
An attempt by the police to handcuff him resulted in a struggle between the parties.
The statement further noted that after the police officer succeeded in handcuffing him, the struggle stopped as the man in question appeared to be unwell.
The handcuffs were then removed by the police officer and he was taken to the medical facility on-site, Sonotech Clinic, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Read the full police statement below:
Having become a case of great interest for many, the Member of Parliament for Jomoro, Dorcas Affo-Toffey, called for firm action to be taken in the case.
Calling President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to also intervene, the MP said that president should issue a statement on the matter her native-man, just as he had once done in the case of George Floyd, a Black man who was brutally killed by some police officers in the United States.
“Just as the President issued a statement in the case of George Floyd, a black American who was killed in a similar way … we expect and demand that H.E Nana Addo Danquah issues a statement to commemorate with the family of Shadrach,” she said.
Police concludes case:
After an extensive investigation, the police released a detailed statement on how it came to its findings; findings that showed that the policeman in question, did no wrong.
The statement, dated February 7, 2023, said that the late brother of gospel musician Perpetual Didier resisted arrest by a police officer on duty who was being assisted by private security guards at scene.
The statement furthered that the deceased, after swallowing the package, became unconscious and was taken to the Sonotech Clinic for medical attention but was pronounced dead on arrival.
“Police Statements taken from witnesses at the scene of the incident, including some private security guards at the mall, and the arresting Police officer revealed that the deceased had resisted arrest by the Police Officer who was being assisted by the private security guards.
“The narrative of the events, as gathered by the police, indicated that during the course of the arrest, the deceased pulled out a substance from his bag, which he quickly swallowed before anyone could stop him. He became unconscious shortly afterwards and was taken to the Sonotech clinic for medical attention but was pronounced dead on arrival,” part of the statement read.
It added that per a post-mortem examination conducted on the deceased and in the presence of as many witnesses from the deceased’s family and other officials, including MP Dorcas Affo-Toffey, it was confirmed that the cause of death was Asphyxiation and Obstruction of the airway by a foreign body.
“On 7th February 2023, a post-mortem examination was conducted on the deceased’s body in the presence of Alfred Boafo, father of the accused, Dr Rosana Polinicio Segborwortso Pathologist of GA East Municipal hospital representing the accused, Mr Francis Xavier Sosu lawyer for the deceased, Louis Melabah Edeafor, uncle of the deceased, Isaac Anim Anno, father of the deceased and Anna Cobbina sister of the deceased.
“The pathologist gave the verbal cause of death as Asphyxiation and Obstruction of the airway by a foreign body. He also retrieved from the throat of the deceased, eight (8) zipped bags containing dry leaves suspected to be narcotic drugs tied in a piece of black polythene.
“The retrieved, suspected narcotic substances tested positive for cannabis when submitted for forensic examination, in the presence of all the interested parties,” he said.
A case of justice served
With this determination by the police, it brings the public outcry, in support of the late Shadrach Arloo, to an end, at least in the eyes of the public.
But even worse, it brings an end to a fight by the family of the deceased, for what they believed was an injustice.
Going by the uncontested conclusion of the police so far, it begs the question, has this death brought further shame to the family than it did bring it the needed sympathy?
The family of the late Shadrach is yet to speak.