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Opinions of Saturday, 23 January 2016

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Police/ soldiers on guard duties must use guns wisely

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai


If you are a security officer keeping watch at gates of prominent buildings or traffic you must be mindful of the laws guiding your job and also working with lots of compassion. If you are wielding a gun, you could shoot intruders only when it becomes absolutely necessary, yes when in self defense. Fortunately in Ghana apart from those policemen guarding bank buildings and security installations in military and security camps, presidential and ministerial buildings, who wield guns in guard duties most policemen don’t posses guns. This is not the case in some developed nations such as the United States of America where some gun wielding cops have recently fallen foul of the law. One of the culprits was charged with murder with his outfit university of Cincinnati being forced to pay out $4.9 million to the family of a victim of gunshot whose children would be supported to go to school.

The story is that the police officer killed a man Samuel DuBose, 43 just because the victim did not have a number plate in front of his vehicle in Cincinnati during a traffic stop. The cop has been indicted for murder as the Hamilton County prosecutor said that the killing was deliberate
Prosecutor Joseph Deters said the policeman Ray Tensing was a murderer who just wanted to kill
DuBose was killed during a traffic stop on July 19 near the University of Cincinnati's campus.
The prosecutor said the officer "wasn't dealing with someone who was wanted for murder, He was dealing with someone who was without a front license plate."

Deters said he was "shocked" when he saw the video on what happened and his heart broke for what the video would mean to the community.
"It's just bad. It's just bad what he did and it shouldn't have happened," Deters said.

The casket of Samuel Dubose is transported to a hearse during his funeral at the Church of the Living God, July 28, 2015, in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati. more



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Hamilton County prosecutor, Joseph Deters

DuBose's mother, Audrey DuBose, said during the news conference after the indictment was announced that she can forgive Tensing and can forgive anybody. God forgave us," she said.
"I'm so thankful that everything was uncovered," she added. "Because I've been a servant of the Lord for as long as I've been living on Earth. I know the Lord and I know the wrath of God. Also, I know the love of God. I just thank God everything is being revealed. I knew that he loved my child. I knew that this was going to be uncovered."
However, Tensing’s lawyer, Stewart Matthews, lashed out at Deters' characterization of his client saying it was extremely unprofessional," he said. "And rather than being a prosecutor I thought he sounded like persecutor."
Matthews said that Tensing, who he described as "extremely professional" and "laid back" was astonished and cried when he found out he had been indicted for murder.
"He just hands in his, face in hands dropped to the table, and just astonished couldn’t believe it," he said.
Stewart said that a jury would find that his client did not overreact.
This is a lesson on all those who would not take it easy on duty as guards on buildings and security installations.
THE SAD DEATH OF A HOMELESS MAN
Apart from the story of DUBOSS the city of Fullerton has also agreed to pay $4.9 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of a homeless man whom police beat to death in July 2011 as reported by Reuters
Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man with schizophrenia, died five days after police officers beat him and shocked him with a stun gun. A surveillance camera recorded footage of the killing, and the video sparked national outrage and street protests in Fullerton.
An Orange County jury acquitted officers Jay Cicinelli and Manuel Ramos of all criminal charges in January 2014. After the verdict, the FBI said it was re-examining the case.
Fullerton settled the civil case on Monday, the day the trial was scheduled to begin. Had the case gone to trial, the officers would have been forced to testify.
“We know the truth, and I wanted that truth brought out,” Kelly Thomas’s father, Ron Thomas, said at a news conference.
Ron Thomas filed suit against the city, the police department and Cicinelli and Ramos.
City officials previously paid Thomas’s mother $1 million to settle any claims she might bring. Thomas’s parents are divorced, and they litigated separately.
Legal fees have reportedly cost the city at least another $1 million.
Video footage of the killing showed Ramos strapping on latex gloves and telling Thomas, “You see theses fists? They are getting ready to fuck you up.”
Officers delivered multiple blows and shocks with a stun gun, the surveillance footage shows.
Thomas was heard on tape calling dozens of times for his father to help him. The mentally ill homeless man was yelling, “Daddy, they’re killing me.”


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