'nightmare' | 

Black and Irish group slams delay in probe of fatal shooting of George Nkencho

The 27-year-old died after he was shot by armed gardai on December 30, 2020

Clodagh MeaneySunday World

The community group Black and Irish have slammed the delay into a probe of the fatal shooting of George Nkencho which happened two years ago.

The 27-year-old died on December 30, 2020 after he was shot by armed gardai.

On the second anniversary of his death, the group has asked why his family are still awaiting answers.

“Black and Irish is deeply concerned with the delays surrounding the pending results of the shooting of George Nkencho. A draft report has been compiled by GSOC for internal review. Since then, very little has been heard,” a statement from Black and Irish said.

“What seemed like an ordinary Wednesday in December at the end of 2020, was suddenly plunged into a disturbing and societal shaking; one with the shooting dead of a member of our community.”

Further discussing the day of George’s death they added: “This was a day that the Black community in Ireland will never forget. Videos of a man wielding a knife being shot and killed by gardai, shortly followed by false images and documents relating to the incident spreading through WhatsApp like wildfire.”

“The ensuing days and weeks were filled with an online discourse fueled by vitriol, racism and hate.

“For many in our community, this time was a blur, but the reality was that a son was taken from his parents, a brother was taken from his siblings, and a man died at the hands of the people who were meant to protect him.”

The group claim that the Commissioner promised the family that answers would be given within a year.

“A year from that deadline has passed and we are still waiting for answers. Two years of a nightmare for the family, waiting on what the structures within the gardai are going to say for themselves,” they explained.

“There has been no sign of an independent inquiry being granted. As it stands, the draft report was completed in mid-October and passed on to three commissioners in GSOC to pass on recommendations. Two and a half months have passed since then.

“Two weeks ago, the lead investigator mentioned at a hearing of the coroners court that more matters may need to be investigated before a final report can be submitted,” the statement continued.

“It was also mentioned that it is likely that this case will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution’s office. The latter action gives signals of hope but the delays and setbacks are harmful for the family and the community.”

Blessing Nkencho with a photograph of her son George Enkencho, who was shot dead by gardai outside his home in December 2020. Picture by Gerry Mooney

Black and Irish have called for GSOC to prioritse the case to ensure “that they are getting the full facts from all those being examined, and for any delays and hold ups to be documented and made transparent”.

CEO of Black and Irish Leon Diop added that for any meaningful relationships to be formed between the gardai and the local community, “this matter must be addressed in a robust and a transparent way”.

“Delays must be called out and noted where they are stemming from. For us to get rid of this weed of distrust between the gardai and the Black community, we need to pull at the root and not hack at the leaves.”

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