A man was rushed to hospital after being injured while in police custody earlier this month, reports Stöð 2.
On September 10th, Chaplas Menka was collecting empty cans on the street when he was stopped by the Metropolitan Police. The police officers informed Chaplas that they needed to deliver a letter to him from the Directorate of Immigration. The letter stated that Chaplas’ visa had run out and that he was residing in the country illegally, and had been doing so for 7 months.
Chaplas agreed to accompany the officers to the police station on Hverfisgata to clear up the issue which should not have taken more than a few minutes to process.
On arrival at the station however, Chaplas was told that he was under arrest.
Chaplas recounts that he was not given an official reason for his arrest, nor was he allowed to contact his lawyer or family.
“He just pushed me, he [is not allowed to push me into a jail cell],” Chaplas said in an interview with Stöð 2. “Then he used a stick to beat me. He called on other police to come and help him to push me. So they came to help him push me through the door. I held on to the door frame so they couldn’t keep pushing me to go inside. Then the policeman used a knife and cut my leg everywhere. He cut my leg four times.”
Due to significant bleeding from the stab wounds in his leg, an ambulance was called and Chaplas taken to the hospital for medical attention.
According to the police, the knife was intended to cut plastic ties wrapped around Chaplas’ ankles.
Chaplas’ lawyer, Hreiðar Eiríksson, told Stöð 2 that he was baffled by the police’s actions.
“There are questions here that need to be answered. Why was it necessary to keep him in a jail cell?” said Hreiðar. “And first and foremost how could it even come to pass that the man would then have to be sent to the hospital?”
Chaplas was born in Liberia and left in the wake of civil war. First he travelled to Ghana, then, 12 years ago, he recieved asylum in Italy. Chaplas arrived in Iceland in 2009, though he leaves the country every 3 months to renew his visa as he does not have a permanent residence in Iceland.
This is not the first time the Metropolitan Police has been accused of using excessive force. As reported, last year a police officer went on trial after a video surfaced of him using considerable force to arrest an intoxicated woman.
The event is a contrast to the general image of the Metropolitan Police which is more commonly known for its cutesy Instagram account featuring police officers doing ollies, eating hot dogs, holding kittens and generally indulging in fun, non-violent shenanigans.