A clip of police officers brutally assaulting a man in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, went viral in Ethiopia. This raised eyebrows among many Ethiopians and attracted massive condemnation on social media. A Twitter user posted the video, which was less than a minute long, on the platform.
In the clip, there are two police officers. One of them is mercilessly beating up a helpless man in handcuffs. A woman tries to come to the victim’s rescue, but the policeman violently pushes her away. The other cop fires a shot in the air. The tweeter posted the clip with the tweet, “Here is my morning starter… as usual the police, our men in blue, protecting us…@BlenaSahilu @AddisPolice #AddisAbaba”
Onlookers look on helplessly especially after the officer assaulting the victim pushed away the woman who tried to help. Even before the authorities openly responded to the calls for justice, social media users had already concluded that such an action was unacceptable.
Most of the people who were part of the discussion tagged various influential people on their tweets. They included the Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Attorney General, the Mayor Takele Uma-Banti and Addis Ababa Police.
The privately-owned Addis Standard news portal and leading human rights outlet, CARD Ethiopia also expressed their displeasure with the action. Journalists from a leading news outlet revealed that the cases of police brutality in Addis Ababa were increasing.
Haimanot Ashenafi from Addis Maleda tweeted, “Within the past few months I reported 3 deaths occurred by security forces brutality in #Addis Ababa.”
Journalist Samuel Getachew of The Reporter responded to the tweet saying, “This is disturbing!”
A Twitter user, Blena, said that in as much as what the police were doing is unacceptable, people should stop generalizing and dehumanizing police officers.
“That video is infuriating &absolutely unacceptable. But please let’s refrain from generalizing about police officers & dehumanizing them. Our advocacy should be rooted in the belief that all human being should be treated with dignity whether they committed a crime or not.”
Many said that the actions of the policemen were quite unfortunate in their reactions to the video.
“Policing institutions in Ethiopia are rotten to the core, beyond redemption. What we see in this video is not an isolated act of 2 rogue officers. It is a widespread & deep rooted problem. For it implicates the entire institution, I hope there would be a thorough review.”
“You just cannot explain such #Police #Brutality against a hundcuffed individual by @AddisPolice with any possible justifications. Very saddening!@TakeleUma @PMEthiopia @hrcoethio @ashenafi_meaza @BerhanuTsegaye @DanielBekele”
“Excessive use of force, mistreating, abusing and terrorizing citizens, lack of accountability. Not surprised, just sad.”
“There is brutally in one side, and there is that awful state of not knowing whom they’re serving and not knowing their job as police officers. Their very existence is to protect that poor lady not abuse her.”
“BTW, we all should fight and say NO to brutality and all illegal actions like that brave woman in the video. That lady to me is the 21 first century Rosa Parks!!!”