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A PROTESTER, arrested for shining a torch at a police officer during a rally over the death of a young black man after being taken into police custody, has been acquitted.
The defendant was one of three people arrested as part of a “post-incident investigation” by South Wales Police into criminal offences allegedly committed during a series of rallies that month outside Cardiff Bay Police station, triggered by the death of Mohamud Hassan.
The arrests prompted allegations that police were using “intimidatory tactics” against anti-racism protesters involved with the justice campaign for Hassan.
The 24-year-old died on January 9, just hours after being released from police custody.
He had been arrested at his home the previous day on suspicion of a breach of the peace and held overnight, before being freed without charge.
Appearing at Cardiff Magistrates Court earlier this week, the defendant, who has not been named, was found not guilty of willfully obstructing a police officer by shining a torch at officers who had been filming the crowd, according to news website voice.wales.
Another man, also accused of blinding officers with his phone light during the rally, was dragged from his bed by officers and arrested in March — two months after the protests.
Kevin Blowe, from police monitoring group Netpol, said the arrest for pointing a torch at a police officer filming protesters was “always wholly disproportionate.”
“South Wales Police has gone out of its way to try and disrupt protests over the death of Mohamud Hassan,” he said.
“We are calling for strict limitations, genuine safeguards and specific prohibitions on the police use of surveillance — including the routine filming of practically every protest.”
The Independent Office for Police Conduct has issued five misconduct notices to officers as part of its investigation into Hassan’s death.
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