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Probe assault on police officer, punish offender

EDITORIAL
By The Standard | February 24th 2016

Police questioned for an hour a pilot caught on camera assaulting a uniformed female officer in Nyandarua where he had flown Deputy President William Ruto for a church service last Sunday.

Chilling video footage that went viral on social media yesterday shows the pilot, Alistair Patrick Llewelyn, snatching Mercy Wandera's mobile phone and her baton, a symbol of authority in police service all over the world. In the video, Mr Llewelyn, seemingly provoked as he walked away, charges at Ms Wandera and pushes her into the surging crowd. It is evident that Mr Llewelyn got alarmed that the officer was taking a selfie and talking on her phone oblivious of the risk the crowd milling around the helicopter carrying the second most important man in the country posed. Yet despite that, he should not have acted violently towards the officer.

Universally, the police uniform and the crown on their hats are symbols of law and order and therefore assaulting a police officer while on duty is an assault on a central tenet of civility. It is as unacceptable as it is unlawful.

No matter what the provocation was, the pilot had no right to take the law into his own hands. Nothing, not even the worst form of provocation warrants a violent reaction to anyone, least of all, a law enforcement officer. It was timely of Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to take action and have the pilot held for questioning. Mr Llewelyn should be subjected to a fair process that establishes and upholds the truth. For, though it is easy to sympathise with Ms Wandera because she was subjected to unwarranted assault, her conduct before the assault leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it borders on negligence of duty. Her conduct is symptomatic of the lethargy that pervades the police service.

Mr Boinnet would do the country greater service by prevailing upon his officers to discharge their duties with greater diligence.

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