KAJANG, Jan 24 — The police have denied beating a security guard yesterday to death, pointing out that a post-mortem today revealed that he had died of a heart attack.
Three eyewitnesses alleged earlier today that four policemen had handcuffed and then assaulted 39-year-old C. Sugumaran together with a mob of more than 20 yesterday evening near the latter’s house at Batu 12, Hulu Langat.
“At about 6.30pm yesterday, the police station at Batu 14 Hulu Langat received a call from a Malay man saying that an Indian man was going amok and destroying public property,” Kajang OCPD ACP Abdul Rashid Abdul Wahab told a press conference at the Kajang district police headquarters here tonight.
He added that three policemen in a patrol car and a motorbike tailed Sugumaran, who was on foot, for about two kilometres from Dusun Sri Nanding to Taman Lagenda Suria in Hulu Langat as the latter waved an iron rod, destroying flower vases near houses and electrical wires, until he fell down in the middle of the road.
“The police, assisted by members of the public, held and handcuffed the man as he was still acting aggressively and trying to struggle during arrest,” said Abdul Rashid, stressing that the crowd did not assault Sugumaran.
He added that a police officer then went to get a Land Rover to bring Sugumaran, described as a big-sized man, to the police station.
“But upon return, the Indian man was unconscious. The police then contacted the hospital and a medical officer came and pronounced him dead,” said Abdul Rashid.
The policeman stressed that a post-mortem done by pathologist Dr Mohd Azaini Ibrahim from Serdang Hospital today from 3.30pm to 8.30pm revealed that Sugumaran had died of a heart attack.
“No other injuries could have caused his death,” said Abdul Rashid.
He also said that the policemen did not throw turmeric powder in Sugumaran’s face as alleged by eyewitnesses earlier today.
Eyewitnesses had told reporters earlier today that the security guard was chased down yesterday by four policemen who subsequently handcuffed and beat him to death together with a mob of more than 20 people in Hulu Langat yesterday.
They said that after the policemen caught and handcuffed him, more than 20 other men from a nearby restaurant joined the policemen and proceeded to assault him.
“The police stepped on Sugumaran’s neck,” R. Moohanarajan told The Malaysian Insider at the Serdang Hospital here today.
“Twenty to thirty people wearing plain clothes beat him up. He was lying facedown with his hands handcuffed behind,” added Moohanarajan, who was Sugumaran’s neighbour.
Abdul Rashid said that about 10 people playing futsal at a futsal court nearby had assisted the police when Sugumaran struggled during his arrest.
He added that Sugumaran was fully clothed during the entire incident, denying earlier eyewitnesses who said that the security guard was found naked on the roadside.
“His shirt was lifted up, but still attached. Pants came out during the struggle but still on his body,” Abdul Rashid told The Malaysian Insider after the press conference yesterday.
He also said that the police would request an inquest into Sugumaran’s death.
Sugumaran’s family lawyer Latheefa Koya, who is also the PKR legal bureau chief, told The Malaysian Insider that the family wanted a second post-mortem and did not intend to remove the body.
Three other eyewitnesses, who were present at the police station here during the press conference, corroborated the police’s version of events.
Mechanic Zukhairi Zulkifli told reporters that nobody assaulted Sugumaran.
“The police wanted to handcuff him, but he fought back, so we held him as we didn’t want him to run,” said Zukhairi, 26.
“He was disturbing people… people say that he is mentally ill,” he said, adding that more than 20 bystanders had gathered around Sugumaran when the latter fell to the ground.
Businessman Mohd Nazlee Abas, 25, said that he often saw Sugumaran going amok at the latter’s neighbourhood in Taman Sri Nanding.
“He insults everyone… he tells people that he wants to fight with them. We don’t usually bother with him,” said Nazlee.
Zukhairi, however, pointed out that Sugumaran had seemed normal when the latter visited his workshop a week ago to get a motorcycle fixed.
Sugumaran’s mother K. Manimagalay said earlier that her son suffered from a mental illness, but did not specify what it was.
Abdul Rashid said the police would not suspend the policemen involved in the incident nor investigate alleged police abuse as the family had yet to file a police report against them.
“We got the post-mortem saying that he died from coronary artery disease. Please don’t politicise this. Injuries were on his knees and hands when he fell down,” he said.