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The police threatened to shoot me if I attempt to save my friend - Man recounts how colleague drowned
Following the death of a man who drowned in the Adabraka-Odawna drain after jumping in the river to escape arrest, a police officer has been accused by colleagues of the deceased of threatening to shoot at residents who attempted to rescue the deceased as he battled for his life.
On Wednesday May 6, 2020, the deceased young man whose name has been given as Sammy, a resident of Adabraka, according to police reports, is said to have suddenly taken to his heels upon sighting a police officer who had gone into the neighbourhood to retrieve his car he had sent for repairs.
Police say the officer who sensed something wrong with the reaction of the deceased decided to chase after him and in a bid to escape from the officer, the victim reportedly jumped into the Odawna River.
Speaking to eyewitness who were around during the incident, they told GhanaWeb that when the deceased who had troubles swimming jumped into the river, some of them tried to also jump in and rescue him but were prevented by the police officer who threatened to gun down anyone who will jump into the river.
“We were all standing here and we heard there was a police officer coming. So everyone started running. We all didn’t know what had happened but he also chose to run. When he started running the police man also run after him. So he wanted to fall into the water and save himself. He fell in the water and the police man just stood there looking at him. When I got here I wanted to fall inside and rescue him. But the police officer told me that if I fall into the river he will shoot at me. I wanted to save him yet the police man was cocking his gun and threatening that he will shoot me.” Said an eyewitness who tried saving the deceased.
According to the eyewitness, it was only hours after the police officer had left the scene that they were able to dive in and retrieve their colleague who had already died by then.
Reports indicate that the youth of the area who felt incensed by the alleged actions of the police officer stormed the Adabraka police station where the officer is said to be stationed with the dead body of their colleague and dumped him on the counter at the charge office.
The youth in the process is said to have assaulted some police officers at the station and also ended up causing damage to some cars and other properties on the compound of the police station.
"We were there yesterday (May 6, 2020) when we had an SOS call that our police station, that's the Adabraka police station, was under a serious attack. They (the youth of Adabraka Odawna) had brought a dead body, dumped the dead body on the counter and assaulted the personnel on duty…the people were incensed that it was because of the presence of the police man. They thought maybe he was coming to effect arrest so they subjected this police man to a severe beating and he sent an SOS call to his colleagues. So two of them came to his rescue. They were able to extricate him and brought him to the police station," Divisional Commander of Nima ACP Abraham Akwei told GhanaWeb.
Revealing further details on the attack on the police station, ACP Akwei said the youth numbering over 500, after retrieving the dead body of their colleague from the river, stormed the police station to deposit the body on the counter at the charge office at the station and ended up assaulting officers on duty while causing damages to properties on the premises.
“…Unfortunately, the police officers who were present at the charge office tried to calm them down and that would not work. So they ended up assaulting the police officers, they beat them up mercilessly and also caused damage to the service vehicles,” He added.
Reacting to the accusations of misconduct and unprofessionalism on the part of the police officer, ACP Akwei described the Adabraka Odawna neighbourhood as a hub for hardened criminals and drug peddling, indicated that victim could have saved himself from the tragedy as he could have chosen to act differently. He said the police is mainly trained to retrieve information from suspects and will only resort to shooting in extreme cases which does not include such a situation.
“If that was the story, that the police man went there to effect his arrest and then he decided to jump into the river whose fault was it. Will you blame the police man? Are you saying that because there is a river there is somebody commits an offence or we want to arrest somebody the police should not go there at all?” He questioned.
He said a follow up on the incidents of May 6, has led to the arrest of 3 persons while a subsequent follow up investigations on the crime scene the next morning led to the invitation of another person, who claimed to be an eye witness, for questioning.
ACP Abraham stressed that the police remains committed to investigating the incident and will ensure anyone found to have broken the law is brought to book
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