Anger over watchdog’s probe into shooting by gardaí
3rd April 2021
The family of a man shot dead by gardaí say they are “not confident” in the garda watchdog’s inquiry into his fatal shooting.
George Nkencho (27) was shot dead on December 30 on the porch of his home in Clonee, Dublin, following a tense stand-off with gardaí during which he refused to drop a knife.
The dead man’s sister, Gloria Nkencho, said the family has asked the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) whether the officer who fired the fatal shots has returned to duty.
However, the garda watchdog has not responded to the family’s request for information, she says.
“My family are not confident in the investigation. The fact that GSOC are declining to inform us whether the officer who fired the shot is still on active duty shows that they are not taking this situation as serious as they should,” Ms Nkencho said.
A well-placed security source confirmed the officer who fired the fatal shots has returned to duty, a decision which was made “in line with protocol” while the GSOC probe is ongoing.
Gloria and other siblings witnessed the shooting, as they were at the front door when an armed officer opened fire on her brother.
Minutes before, Ms Nkencho tried to tell gardaí she could help and that her brother had a mental illness. However, as officers tried to contain the potential for violence, she had to retreat inside.
“Our solicitor has been denied answers to our questions and we are constantly afraid the investigation is not proceeding as we expected it would,” she said.
George was shot on the porch of his home in Clonee at around 12.35pm on December 30 and was later pronounced dead in hospital.
Prior to the shooting gardaí had tried to disarm George, using a graduated policing response which took place after he allegedly attacked a shopkeeper at a Eurospar 23 minutes earlier.
Garda units arrived and followed him repeatedly asking him to drop the knife he was then brandishing.
He refused and threatened gardaí with the knife when they tried to approach him.
By the time George got home, two members of the Armed Support Unit were at the scene and took over.
Armed gardaí did not know it was George’s home and had valid fears he could take the people inside the house hostage.
He was pepper-sprayed by armed officers and there were also two attempts at tasering him, only one of which was effective.
But these efforts by armed officers didn’t have the desired effect.
George remained firmly in possession of the knife and continued to lunge at officers. Gardaí opened fire.
In line with protocol, GSOC was assigned to investigate the death at the hands of An Garda Síochána.
Asked about Ms Nkencho’s comments, GSOC said it has been “in regular contact with the family of Mr Nkencho since the day of his death through a family liaison officer (FLO) appointed by GSOC that evening”.
GSOC said it also engaged with the family’s legal representative, saying: “The FLO has provided the family of Mr Nkencho with information on the investigation as appropriate.
“If any other members of the community have information GSOC would be anxious to hear from them.”