What the cop’s uniform says about the guy who was shot on an urban highway

On Friday afternoon, 60 miles south of Lagos in Lagos, Nigeria, a police officer shot and killed a 29-year-old motorcyclist who tried to defect from the exclusive highways into a car park off the highway. It’s hardly shocking to see the shooting footage. But a surveillance image that The Daily Beast has reviewed shows what is possibly the most unusual thing about the photograph: the policeman wearing his uniform and firing the shot.

The full background of the video may not be viewable in the raw footage, but the Daily Beast saw the same portrait (left) in HD where the assailant is seen aiming the gun at the motorcyclist. It might appear, in retrospect, that the police officer was targeting the wrong man. Police spokesman Eke Ambrose, from Lagos State Police Command, told The Daily Beast that “The man alleged to have committed the crime is one Alhaji Babagana Aliyu and was killed on his motorcycle.” But a criminal records check of Aliyu by The Daily Beast in Nigeria revealed a spotless criminal record, dating back over more than a decade. Aliyu, himself, went to school in Nigeria’s No. 1 terrorism-incited state, Borno, and once served in the Nigerian military and the Royal Navy in another. This despite claiming to have fought in the war against Boko Haram.

After viewing the CCTV footage, the Daily Beast asked the police spokesman for additional information. The video is sent from a CCTV camera and it is these recordings that the police officer was citing. Is the man in the jeans outfit in fact the suspect? Did the police officer target someone else — perhaps other road users on the highway? Is this an isolated case of police brutality that authorities should simply close the books on? Or is there more to the story?

By the next day, Ambrose released a statement saying, “The Action Council for Citizen-Law Enforcement Cooperation (ACCLEC) understands the video footage of the incident is [probably] not available to the general public. But CLEROSURE, an independent organization with an operational mandate to train and certify LEADS agents has also posted the video on their site. The video footage is available on CLEROSURE’s websites HERE and CLEROSURE’s Facebook page HERE.” CLEROSURE is an international organization that produces video training material for law enforcement agencies.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Ambrose told The Daily Beast, “The Lagos State Commissioner of Police has set up a special panel to investigate the video footage that emerged on January 5, 2020 to unravel the mysteries of this gruesome murder. The Panel is being led by the Commissioner of Police. The Police Officer and other members of the Panel were drafted from different Intelligence units of the Force. They have started work and will soon meet in Lagos to reach a conclusion. The statement made by the Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal, is also still on the portal of the Commissioner’s office and will be made available to the public.”

As The Daily Beast is first to report, the probe finds that the officer, who was photographed firing the gun at the motorcyclist, was actually the one who was shooting the motorcyclist on the highway after he rode onto the toll. The Daily Beast has also uncovered one other detail: As soon as the bullet whizzed past the windshield of the police officer’s car, the car sped away, before it hit a convoy of many other vehicles. That car is shown in the video footage. Yet when the Daily Beast asked for details on this car, Ambrose’s office said he was not authorised to give them to The Daily Beast. Ambrose declined an interview, citing the ongoing investigation.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that the suspect is not the one who was shot. But given the events of this incident, the circumstances around it and the video footage it provides, the question remains: Why did the police officer shoot and kill the wrong man?

Read the full story on The Daily Beast.


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