A police officer in the governorate of Sharqeya has been accused of fatally shooting a man named Mohamed Abdel Rahman on Sunday after an argument, according to the family of the deceased.
The prosecution is currently investigating the incident; the suspected officer and seven non-commissioned officers have been detained.
The victim was the owner of a small local café in the village of Al-Haswa. While he was on shift on Sunday, police forces stormed into the cafe and started searching him and the cafe’s clients.
The family says that Abdel Rahman refused to be searched by the officer in “a degrading manner” which led the officer to arrest him without a warrant or any legal grounds. The officer then pulled out his side arm and shot Abdel Rahman, according to the family.
After being shot dead, Abdel Rahman’s body was transferred to a hospital. Dozens of his relatives gathered, angrily demanding that the officer be put on trial.
Meanwhile, several officials at the Ministry of Interior gave different narratives concerning the incident—none of them saying that the officer shot Abdel Rahman on purpose. One narrative repeated by the ministry’s media office is that the police force was on its way to disperse a shootout in another cafe, when the officer fired a warning shot to stop one of the suspects, but the bullet hit Abdel Rahman.
Another narrative—claimed by head of the Sharqeya Security Directorate General Reda Tablia—was that the police force was on its way to arrest Abdel Rahman; the officer fired a warning shot which hit the victim.
Abdel Rahman is survived by three children. A female relative of his refused to give details about the incident as the family fears the “whole case may go in a direction that accuses the victim of being a thug or an ex-convict”.
The Ministry of Interior has previously used similar narratives, claiming that victims of police brutality had been previously convicted or involved in immoral conduct.
At the beginning of September, a police officer fatally shot a worker in Al-Khalifa district in Cairo over a personal argument. Investigations say that the police officer’s wife had an argument with the worker, leading the officer to intervene and shoot him.
Since the beginning of 2016, there have been a string of cases of police abuse against civilians. However, the Ministry of Interior has repeatedly denied accusations of systematic and widespread abuses of state power.