Gambia calls for transparent probe of US police shooting of diplomat’s son


Gambia’s government called on Tuesday for a credible and transparent investigation into the shooting death of one of its citizens by US police in the state of Georgia last Friday.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said in a statement on Friday that it had been asked by the police department in the town of Snellville to investigate an officer involved in the shooting of a driver following a car chase.

The GBI identified the driver on Tuesday as Momodou Lamin Sisay, who lived in the nearby town of Lithonia. Sisay, 39, is the son of Lare Sisay, a Gambian diplomat who also worked for the UN Development Programme.

The GBI statement on Friday said preliminary information indicated police officers pursued Sisay after he failed to stop when they tried to pull him over for a vehicle tag violation.

The statement said that when the car eventually stopped and officers approached it, Sisay pointed a handgun at the officers, who fired on the vehicle and retreated to find cover behind their vehicles.

During an ensuing standoff with a SWAT team, the statement said, Sisay fired his weapon at the officers, one of whom returned fire. Sisay was pronounced dead at the scene, it said.

Gambia’s foreign affairs ministry, in a statement Tuesday, said it had “asked the Gambian Embassy in Washington DC to engage the relevant US authorities including the State Department, to seek a transparent, credible and objective investigation in the matter”.

Gambian media quoted Sisay’s father as saying he was withholding judgment on the incident pending results of an autopsy and findings from a private investigator, while referring to his son as “somebody who abhors violence”.

African leaders have condemned police violence in the United States over the past week following the death on 25 May of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.