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IGP's swift action is commendable.

The Swedru Divisional Police Command is said to have arrested and placed in custody, a Municipal Guard of the Agona West Municipal Assembly, who reportedly assaulted a young man last Wednesday. Peter Danso, the Municipal Guard, according to media reports, was arrested based on orders of the Inspector General of Police, Mr David Asante-Apeatu.

In a video that went viral on social media, which reportedly attracted the attention of the IGP, suspect Danso was seen kicking with brute force the head of the boy who had been accused of stealing from a mobile money vendor. The impact of the kick was so great that one of the people standing around the area was heard shouting 'eeih' in the Akan language.

Earlier reports had suggested that Peter Danso was a police officer, but the Central Regional Police Command quickly issued a statement to deny the claim. According to the police statement, it was rather a police officer standing nearby who went to the aid of the boy, by taking him to the police station for safe protection.

To the best of our knowledge, the Agona West Municipal Assembly has neither issued a statement to own nor disown Peter Danso. The assembly has also not issued any public statement apologising for the conduct of its guard - if is true that Danso works with the assembly as a Municipal Guard. The Chronicle is, however, happy that the IGP took the prompt decision to order for the arrest of the suspect.

Those who have watched the video would agree with The Chronicle that the conduct of Peter Danso was simply animalistic - because no human being with brains in his head would do what the Municipal Guard did to the boy. The fact that the boy stole from a mobile money vendor does not mean he should be treated as an animal. Even nowadays, animals also have rights, which must be respected by human beings. This is the reason why in other jurisdictions, one can be arrested and charged with cruelty towards an animal or animals.

From the video, it is clear that Peter Danso did not behave as a human being, and must, therefore, be dealt with according to the laws of Ghana. Whilst applauding the IGP for the swift action he has taken, we equally call on the police to issue a medical form for the victim to attend hospital for a proper medical examination. The boy might have suffered brain damage, but it is only a medical examination that can confirm or deny this.

Whilst the police are using the due process of the law to deal with Peter Danso, we suggest to the Agona West Municipal Assembly, and, indeed, all the Metropolitan and Municipal assemblies in the country, to conduct due diligence on the guards they recruit. In situations where no criminal record is found on them, the guards must be schooled on human right issues, since, per their work schedule, they would be interacting with human beings.

Clearly, if Peter Danso had been taken through human rights tutorials, he wouldn't have exhibited such a bad conduct. Metropolitan and Municipal guards can best be described as 'police', since they also arrest law breakers on behalf of their respective assemblies. They must, therefore, be taught how to handle human beings and not treating them as animals, which must be abused anyhow, at least in the Ghanaian context of how they see animals. The Swedru incident is unfortunate and must not be repeated in any part of Ghana.

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Publication:Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra, Ghana)
Date:Mar 28, 2019
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