The police officer in plain clothes who was captured on camera gunning down a youth he had arrested is a darling of many residents of Eastleigh, the Sunday Nation has established.
Within the ranks of Kenya Police, especially at Pangani Police Station where he works, the officer, known to many simply as Rashid, is envied “for his efficiency”.
His colleagues spoke to the Sunday Nation on condition of anonymity because the shooting is still under investigation by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa).
Though the public probably heard of him for the first time last weekend, after the video of the shooting went viral on social media, his colleagues are used to his escapades.
An officer told the Sunday Nation that a week hardly passes without Rashid recovering a vehicle that had been reported stolen.
At Pangani, Rashid is deployed to the SPIV squad. SPIV is basically a team of not more than 10 officers who are usually relieved of the normal police beats to allow them time to pursue complex crimes.
Officers in the squad never don police uniforms to enable them remain undercover.
Officers on regular beat are required to be clean shaven but its normal for those in undercover units to wear long beards, even dreadlocks.
This is their way of camouflaging. Rashid, his colleagues said, fits best in the SPIV.
SHOOTING UNDER PROBE
One officer said Rashid has a way of melting into the civilian population, which, to him, is a gold field when it comes to picking out criminals.
“Yeye ni mtu wa watu. Wananchi wanampenda sana. Hakuna kitu inawezampita. Wananchi wanamwambia kila kitu na wako na imani na yeye (He is a man of the people. No information on crime is out of his reach. Citizens give the information to him because they have confidence he will protect them),” the officer said.
As much as the video clip has elicited support for the officer in fighting crime, it has, to a lesser extent, been condemned by people who feel it was a clear case of extrajudicial execution.
Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet said a special team is investigating the shooting.
In a statement, Ipoa spokesman Dennis Oketch said: “Pursuant to launching investigations into the incident in which two suspects were allegedly summarily executed by persons said to be police officers on March 31, 2017 in Eastleigh area in Nairobi, the authority appeals to any member of the public, including motorists, pedestrians and anyone else who may have witnessed the unfolding events or may through any means have become privy of credible evidence on the incident, to report to Ipoa.”
Lawyer Donald Kipkorir said on his official Twitter account: “Against expectations of many friends like Ahmednasir, I believe in the extrajudicial killing of anyone who takes up illegal arms.”
He was ostensibly referring to Mr Ahmednasir Abdullahi, also a lawyer.
The two youths were shot dead allegedly for taking part in armed robberies as well as killing police officers.
A family of one of the slain youths has since admitted their son was a “petty criminal”.
If social media reports are to determine who the slain youths are, then they belonged to flamboyant police-taunting gangs, whose members posted pictures of bundles of money and healed bullet wounds on their bodies, which they sustained from their dangerous adventures in the dark world of crime.
In the photos, they also posed with illegal guns and shared messages about their colleagues who have been killed by police.
They used Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to give alerts and warnings about plainclothes police officers in specific areas, complete with their pictures.
In some cases, they use these groups to fundraise for police bribes, mortuary fees for their “fallen soldiers” and medical bills for those wounded.