NICOSIA - An anti-racism group on Tuesday called on the state to put an end to racial profiling and police brutality after a Pakistani man was allegedly assaulted by a police officer during a routine identity check.
In an announcement, migrant support organisation KISA said penalties against police members who break the law should serve as an example for other potential offenders.
“KISA is calling on the state to put a final stop to this phenomenon of police brutality and cover-ups. We demand a criminal and disciplinary probe into the matter and penalties that will set a future example.”
According to KISA, the police officers who initially reviewed the complaint attempted to persuade the victim not to take action against their colleague.
“The police only changed their stance after the Minister of Justice intervened and called for a probe into the matter.”
The migrant group also called on the Independent Police Complaints Authority and the Commissioner for Human Rights to also investigate the incident.
Speaking to The Cyprus Daily, police spokesman Andreas Angelides confirmed that the 43-year-old Rapid Reaction Unit (MMAD) officer is already facing assault charges.
According to the spokesman, an investigation was launched against the officer following an official complaint from the alleged victim and his family.
“The officer in question is under disciplinary investigation.
“He was arrested and released to appear in court at a later date after having been charged with assault.”
The complainant said he was driving in Old Nicosia on Saturday morning when the officer pulled him over.
He was asked for identification which he did not have on him but explained to the officer that he is married to a Cypriot and permanently resides in Cyprus.
At this point the officer is alleged to have punched the victim in the face before telling him he was free to go. Police arrested the officer for questioning the following morning after the complaint was filed.
According to Angelides, all allegations of violence involving members of the force are taken extremely seriously.
“When a complaint is filed against a police officer an investigation is launched and appropriate action is taken if deemed necessary.”