The Gambia has demanded an investigation after one of its citizens, a former UN diplomat’s son, was shot dead by U.S. police. Momodou Lamin Sisay, 39, was shot after a car chase in Georgia on Friday morning and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the preliminary investigation by Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
His shooting, which comes amid protests over the death of George Floyd, has caused outrage in the Gambian community, who have described it as one example of the ongoing systemic racism in America where black people find themselves being killed during encounters with white police officers.
According to Georgia investigators, at approximately 03:49 Friday morning, a police officer in Snellville, Georgia tried to stop Sisay’s vehicle but he refused to stop, and a car chase followed.
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“Officers approached the vehicle and gave verbal commands for the driver to show his hands. The driver did not comply… the driver pointed a handgun at the officers. Officers fired at the driver and pulled back to take cover behind their patrol vehicles,” investigators said.
SWAT officers were called to the scene and “during the standoff, the driver pointed his weapon and fired at the SWAT officers. One GCPD SWAT officer fired his weapon,” the investigators added.
Relatives and friends of Sisay have, however, raised doubts about the account of the officers and have asked for eyewitnesses to come forward, reports The Guardian.
“We will do an independent autopsy and we want to get a private investigator to investigate the circumstances of his death and if necessary hire a lawyer to sue the Georgia state police. We’re not going to let it go,” Lare Sisay, the victim’s father who is a former UN employee and Gambian diplomat was quoted by The Point newspaper.
Lare Sisay further described his son was “a very pious and disciplined young man whose life was cut short brutally”.
The Gambia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked its embassy in Washington DC to “engage the relevant U.S. authorities including the State Department to seek transparent, credible and objective investigation”.
In the wake of protests across the U.S. following the death of Floyd at the hands of a police officer, a demonstration has been planned for next week outside the American embassy to protest the killing of Sisay and black Americans by police.