A shocking incident of alleged police brutality and theft has been reported by prominent journalist and businesswoman, Bridget Otoo, who participated in the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest in Accra on Thursday, September 21.
The protest, organized by a civil society group called Democracy Hub, was aimed at demanding transparency and accountability from the government over various issues of corruption and mismanagement. However, the police intervened and dispersed the protestors, arresting some of them and allegedly assaulting others.
Otoo, known for her fearless reporting, shared her eyewitness account of alleged police misconduct during what was supposed to be a peaceful protest.
too encountered a distressed woman who believed her son, initially presumed to be a protester, was unjustly detained. Contrary to the assumption, Otoo revealed that the young man was merely playing basketball near Christ the King Church, a designated sports area.
According to Otoo, the police, conducting a swoop operation akin to those used for criminal events, indiscriminately apprehended individuals, including the young basketball player. The concerned mother, desperately awaiting news of her son’s fate, reached out to Otoo for assistance.
Upon arriving at the protest site’s gate, Otoo attempted to engage with a police officer, questioning the detention of multiple individuals. In response, the officer denied the presence of detainees inside the area, despite Otoo witnessing people being taken in.
“”A woman spoke to me about her son, who is a protester. No, he wasn’t a protester; he was playing basketball. You see, around the church, what is it, Christ the King, there’s a basketball area there. The boy was supposed to play basketball. And the police, in their swoop, as they do with other crime events, swoop and just carried him along. So she’s been here waiting to hear from her son, and she spoke to me. So I get to the gate, and I tell the policeman to go in there. He tells me there’s no one. I said, ‘But you’ve just taken people in there. You have just taken people in there,” she said.
While Otoo and other concerned citizens waited outside, tensions escalated when the police reportedly charged at the crowd without provocation. The gates were forcefully opened, and officers allegedly grabbed as many people as they could, leading to a chaotic scene.
Otoo expressed concerns for her colleague Vanessa, who was inside the premises at the time. Fearing for Vanessa’s safety amid the police presence and their hostile actions, Otoo highlighted the gravity of the situation.
In the midst of the commotion, Otoo found herself holding the phone of an individual named George, who was still inside the premises. Despite George’s non-aggressive demeanor and lack of involvement in any unlawful activities, he was forcibly taken by the police. Otoo recounted how the police officer attempted to seize George’s phone and, in the process, ripped her shirt.
“While I was waiting, the police charged at us. We didn’t provoke them, nothing. We were just standing. He charged, opened the gates, and charged and picked as many people as they could grab. I want to believe that it’s because maybe I’m a woman, that’s why they didn’t grab me,”she narrated.
In a shocking turn of events, Otoo revealed that police officers allegedly stole phones from individuals who were not partaking in any form of agitation. This theft reportedly occurred during the operation, causing distress among the affected individuals.
“They have stolen other people’s phone, police officers. They have stolen, they didn’t even take the phone, they stole it. From people who are not agitating.”,”she claimed.
As the standoff continued, Otoo and others sought to provide bail for those unjustly detained, believing that they had committed no crimes. However, the police reportedly denied their requests, exacerbating the tension at the scene.
Otoo called attention to the contrasting treatment of peaceful protestors and individuals involved in financial crimes, suggesting that the latter often faced less severe consequences. She urged for fairness and justice in such situations.
Watch her narration below