As detestable as it is, police killings in Kenya continue as though they are the most natural thing in dealing with criminal elements in society, yet the law is very clear and specific on how police should conduct themselves under specific conditions in the execution of their duties.
Incidents where police officers on patrol duty open fire on individuals they claim are criminals only for counter-claims to emerge later that the victims were actually law-abiding citizens have been on the increase. Only recently, some youths engaged in the business of garbage collection, who were in full uniform, were gunned down in Kariobangi by policemen who claimed they were acting on a tip-off. In all such cases, claims against the victims are allowed to fizzle out quietly, leaving relatives of the slain in anguish and anger at the casualness with which the police take away life.
Last Tuesday, three young men were shot dead in Kariobangi by the police who claimed the youngsters were suspects. Whether there was a robbery in progress, where it had been accomplished or whether there was a verifiable plan to commit one, are not clear. The spate of extra-judicial killings has to come to an end.
The right to life as guaranteed by the Constitution has not been abrogated. Where there is need, the police should, in line with their training and legal requirements, arrest, not kill, unarmed people who pose no threat to them whatsoever. Dead people tell no tales, hence establishing the veracity of the claims against victims of police shootings becomes hard.