The killing of an alleged armed robber at Legon in Accra has stirred a debate between the family of the deceased and the Legon Police.
While the police claim that the deceased, Samuel Danso, a taxi driver, was an armed robber who had engaged them in a shoot-out, the family maintains that the police killed Danso, who was unarmed, in broad daylight.
Danso was gunned down at East Legon at noon on Thursday, October 23, 2008.
According to the police, the deceased was a member of a gang of suspected armed robbers who had been apprehended by the Legon Police after two of his accomplices had been found to be wielding guns after a suspected armed robbery at Legon.
In its reaction, the family said in a statement that the police, realising their guilt, had “cooked up” a story to cover up their culpability because “only two gunshots were fired on that day and both came from the gun of a policeman”.
The family has, consequently, asked for an independent committee of enquiry to ascertain the veracity of the claims by the police.
According to the Legon District Police Commander, Assistant Superintendent of Police Mr Richmond Bonsu, prior to the shooting incident, a report had been made on Thursday, October 23, 2008 of a robbery that had taken place in two houses at East Legon at 1.00 a.m.
Mr Bonsu said the robbers took away a car from each house, two laptops, seven mobile phones, six briefcases, jewellery and large sums of money in both local and foreign currencies.
Immediately after the report, Mr Bonsu said, the police had a hint that one of the cars, a green Hyundai, with registration number GR 5399 W, had been abandoned near a stream at Legon and he quickly ordered his men to retrieve the car for further investigations.
He said according to his men, on their way to retrieve the car they met four men in a taxi and as the police suspected them, they searched them and found two guns in their possession, leading to the shoot-out which resulted in the death of the deceased.
Mr Bonsu added that two of the four armed robbers escaped during the shoot-out, while the other was arrested by his men.
On the contrary, the statement from the family, signed by Mr Samuel Darkwah, said although the police claimed to have arrested another person who was an accomplice of the deceased, they had failed to give the name and whereabouts of the said accomplice.
It said the deceased had been driving on a narrow road on which two cars could not pass each other.
It said according to eyewitnesses, the deceased had seen two cars, a taxi and a private saloon car, approaching from the opposite direction and had parked for them to pass, but the two cars rather stopped.
The statement continued that a policeman wearing a traditional smock came out and fired two shots at the deceased and arrested the passenger.
“Sammy was not asked any questions; he was not running away, he was not having weapons and he was not a criminal.
Let the police stop giving Sammy a bad name to hide their shame,” the statement added.
It demanded an explanation and evidence from the Legon Police and expressed the family's loss of confidence in the manner the police were handling the investigation.
Mr Bonsu did not want to give details about what exactly triggered the shoot-out but gave the assurance that the detailed story would be given when the investigation was over.