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Teen tells of ‘assault by gardaí’ after attack

Last update - Thursday, April 8, 2010, 13:11 By Metro Éireann

A Congolese teenager who was very close to the murdered Nigerian boy has claimed that he was assaulted by gardaí soon after the incident.

Rudi Eloma showed Metro Éireann a number of wounds on his head and wrists that he said he received in an altercation with gardaí who were trying to calm black youths at the scene of the attack.
“Something bad had happened to my friend and [I told them] I need to see what is happening,” said Eloma, who alleged that the gardaí did not accept his response and persisted in moving him and others out of the area.
Later on, Eloma said he and other friends of the deceased were given a lift to Blanchardstown Hospital, but were refused entry and ordered to leave by the same gardaí from the scene of the attack.
When the boys insisted on entering the hospital to get an update on Shittabey’s condition, Eloma said that non-uniform gardaí decided to arrest them.
“They smacked my head on the car,” said the Congolese teen, who added that he was immediately restrained in the squad car and deliberately handcuffed too tightly. When he asked for the cuffs to be loosened, he said one of the gardaí assaulted him.
“The more I cried, the more one of them hit me,” he said.
Eloma added that the handcuffs were finally loosened just before they arrived at Blanchardstown Garda Station.
“They asked me for my name but I did not give it to them. Rather, I gave them my parents’ details. I was later released. I had a big lump on my head and my wrists are swollen.”
The issue was raised at a meeting last Monday between senior officials at Blanchards-town Garda Station and mainly Nigerian members of the local African community over the death of Toyosi Shittabey.
John-Kingsely Onwumere, who convened the meeting, told Metro Éireann: “We wanted clarification as to how [the assault] happened, what actually happened and how much they know about it, because our expectation is that the gardaí are there to protect and ensure that people do not suffer untoward action from members of the community as well as the Garda itself.”
He said that Garda authorities suggested Eloma submit a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman or report the incident directly to Blanchardstown Garda Station to investigate.
Onwumere added that the community’s main concern “is the family of the deceased and the young people who witnessed this dastardly act. [We hope] that there is counselling or some form of support as a matter of priority to those young people and the immediate family.”

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