A woman, Chioma Pius, has accused men of the Rivers State Police Command of assaulting her for having tattoos on her body.
Pius, who claimed to be travelling in a cab from Bayelsa to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Monday, said she was stopped by the policemen at Elebrada Junction, Emohua, Rivers State.
She alleged that after introducing herself to the policemen, the head of the patrol team accused her of being rude.
She claimed that the officers subsequently pounced on her and pummelled her.
“I experienced the worst day of my life on Monday. I was brutalised by some police officers in the Emohua area of Rivers State; at a highway leading to Bayelsa State.
“My crime was that I tattooed my body. A police officer asked me to step down from the taxi I was travelling in from Bayelsa to Port Harcourt. I asked to know why; he ignored my question and asked again that I should step out of the car, so I got out of the car.
“He asked to know who I was and what I did for a living because of the tattoo on my body. I gladly introduced myself with a big smile on my face. My phone rang, but I couldn’t answer (the call). The policeman told me to identify myself to his superior, which I found funny. I was just looking at the guy when he said I should be detained; that I didn’t have manners and that I was a cult member, prostitute and armed robber. There was no disgusting name those men didn’t call me.
“I just laughed the insults off and told them I would not enter their mobile cell. They seized my phone, so I couldn’t record them. They searched my purse and when they couldn’t find any money, they got angry and said I didn’t even have money, and I was showing off.
“Before I knew it, one of the officers grabbed my trousers and pushed me into the van, while the other guy slapped and punched me repeatedly. I asked why they were beating me up, but their leader used the butt of his gun to hit me on my thighs. He went away and came back with a cane and flogged me. He pushed me into their mobile cell,” she said in a post on Facebook.
She claimed that she lost her engagement ring in the scuffle, adding that while the drama lasted, other policemen were busy extorting money from other motorists and letting them go without a search.
Pius, who claimed that passersby watched helplessly as she was harassed, vowed to get justice.
A series of photos by the victim showed that she sustained injuries in her hands and legs.
She also posted a blurred video which revealed the patrol’s vehicle tag number as …XU P/H.
A sibling of the victim, Annastacia Anyaoha, claimed that the tattoo was a remembrance for their late brother, as she abused those who questioned Pius’ dressing and means of livelihood.
Personal enquiries made to the sisters were not replied to as of press time.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Omoni Nnamdi, asked the victim to identify the policemen or their patrol van.
He promised that the command would investigate the harassment if the policemen were identified.