Police Brutality: Stories from Stephen Biko to ADC Harun

Police Brutality: Stories from Stephen Biko to ADC Harun
Source of Image: Google, Image By: Flickr

Throughout history, instances of police brutality have left indelible marks on societies worldwide. From South Africa to Bangladesh and even the United States, these stories of abuse of power and violence have troubled the relationship between law enforcement and the public. In this blog post, we will highlight into the dreadful details of a few significant cases of police brutality that have cast long shadows on the path to justice.

Remembering Steve Biko: A Voice against Racism:

During the 1960s and 1970s, Stephen Bantu Biko emerged as a prominent anti-apartheid activist in South Africa. He played a pivotal role in establishing the Black Consciousness Movement, a movement that aimed to inspire and unite the urban black community.

In 1977, South Africa tragically lost a fearless figure for revolution when Bantu Stephen Biko met a devastating fate. At the young age of 30, Biko was arrested by the police and subjected to terrible brutality. He suffered an extensive 22-hour interrogation during which he suffered ruthless beatings, ultimately falling into a coma due to a severe head injury.

What is even more astonishing is that, despite his critical condition, Biko was transported over a thousand kilometers to a remote hospital. His premature death serves as a haunting reminder of the horrors of policing during the era of racism.

Rodney King - The Video that Shocked the Nation:

In the early 1990s, Rodney Glen King, an African American man, found himself at the center of a devastating incident that exposed the grim reality of police brutality in Los Angeles. It was March 3, 1991, when King's life took a harrowing turn. He was subjected to a brutal beating by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) during his arrest, following a high-speed pursuit for driving under the influence on the I-210.

The shocking incident, captured on videotape quickly spread across the entire nation. The footage revealed a distressing display of excessive force and brutality inflicted upon King by LAPD officers. This incident served as a stark reminder of the deeply rooted issues of racism and police misconduct within the LAPD.

Police Brutality: Stories from Stephen Biko to ADC Harun
Image Source: Google, Image By: Wikimedia Commons

The aftermath of this incident had far-reaching consequences. When the officers involved in the beating were acquitted, it ignited a powder keg of anger and frustration. Within hours of the verdict, the city erupted into chaos. The 1992 Los Angeles riots erupted, driven by the collective outrage of racial minorities over the trial's outcome and long-standing social issues that had festered for years. The tensions were further complicated by existing tensions between the African American and Korean American communities.

The 1992 Los Angeles riots would leave an indelible mark on the city and the nation, serving as a painful reminder of the urgent need to address issues of racial injustice and police brutality. Rodney King's ordeal and the subsequent events would become a symbol of the ongoing struggle for justice and equality in America.

South Africa - Marikana Massacre

On August 16, 2012, the South African Police Service (SAPS) fired upon a gathering of striking mineworkers in Marikana, located in the North West Province. This tragic incident resulted in the loss of 34 mineworkers' lives and left 78 others with severe injuries. In the aftermath of this deadly confrontation, 250 of the miners were taken into custody.

Based on a study conducted in 2023, the massacre resulted in the emergence of a new opposition party and caused voters in the areas near the incident to shift their support from the incumbent party to the newly formed one.

United States -George Floyd’s Death

George Perry Floyd Jr. was an African-American man who lost his life at the hands of a police officer during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a state in the USA on May 25, 2020.The police were called by a store worker who said Mr. Floyd gave a fake $20 bill to purchase cigarettes. Seventeen minutes after the first police car arrived, Mr. Floyd was unconscious and under three police officers, and he wasn't showing any signs of life.

The New York Times methodically restored and composed the moments before Mr. Floyd's tragic death by analyzing videos from witnesses and security cameras. And that video revealed a sequence of actions by the officers that went against the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department which ultimately led to Mr. Floyd not being able to breathe, even though he and the people watching asked for help.

Police Brutality: Stories from Stephen Biko to ADC Harun
Image Source: Google, Image By: Wikimedia Commons

Tyre Nichols - A Nightmare in Memphis:

On the evening of January 7, 2023 Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, faced a brutal attack by Memphis (a city in the U.S. state of Tennessee) police officers that lasted approximately three minutes. This encounter began when he was initially pulled over for what the police claimed to be irresponsible driving. They used pepper spray and a special electric shock device on him, which must have caused him a lot of pain. Tyre somehow managed to break free and ran towards his mom's house, which fortunately wasn't too far away, less than a mile.

But then, something really troubling happened. Five other police officers, who were also Black, caught up with Tyre near his mom's house. Instead of assisting him, they started to hit, kick, use more pepper spray, and even hit him with a stick. Sadly, he died three days later.

Following this incident, five police officers, all of whom are also Black, were dismissed from their positions and subsequently charged on January 26 with multiple felonies, including second-degree murder.

ADC Harun - Allegation of beating in police custody in Bangladesh:

On September 11, 2023, Harun Or Rashid, the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of the Ramna Zone within the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) in Bangladesh, was temporarily suspended. The suspension came about due to allegations that he had physically assaulted two prominent leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student organization affiliated with the ruling political party, inside a police station.

Police Brutality: Stories from Stephen Biko to ADC Harun
Image Source: Google, Image By: providence

The incident unfolded when the central committee's Organizing Secretary, Anwar Hossen Nayeem, and Science Affairs Secretary, Sharif Ahmed Munim, along with some others, got into a heated argument with ADC Harun at Birdem Hospital in Shahbagh on the evening of September 9, 2023.

It was reported that ADC Harun was engaged in a conversation with a female police officer from the 33rd BCS at Birdem Hospital. When the woman officer's husband learned of this, he arrived at the hospital along with Naeem and Munim. Notably, the woman officer's husband is also an administration cadre officer and a former leader of Chhatra League.

Subsequently, ADC Harun managed to leave the hospital premises but later returned with a group of police officers. He took Nayeem and Sharif into custody and subjected them to physical violence at Shahbagh Police station. They were released around 1:00 am and received medical treatment at the hospital.

Police brutality and Human Rights Organizations:

Police brutality is an urgent human rights concern that has garnered the focus of several human rights organizations worldwide. These organizations have a crucial role in championing accountability, transparency, and justice in instances of police violence. Well-known groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are committed to addressing police brutality on a global scale.

Police Brutality: Stories from Stephen Biko to ADC Harun
Image Source: Google, Image By: Wikimedia Commons

Roots behind Police Brutality:

Police brutality has deep-seated roots, driven by various interconnected factors. These causes, including a lack of accountability, inadequate training, bias, and stress, contribute to the issue. To combat police brutality effectively, comprehensive reforms are necessary, addressing these factors through policy changes, improved training, transparency, and community engagement.


These detailed accounts, spanning various countries and decades, shine a stark spotlight on the ongoing issue of police brutality. These stories from across the globe underscore the worldwide extent of police brutality and the urgent need for heightened awareness, accountability, and reforms to ensure that law enforcement agencies prioritize the safeguarding of the rights and well-being of all individuals.