A police sergeant accused of shooting and killing a young man in the Cairo subrub of Darb al-Ahmar on Friday has been referred to criminal court on charges of premeditated murder, reported the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Multiple witnesses reported seeing officer Mostafa Abdel Hakim shoot 24-year-old Mohamed Sayed – known in the neighborhood as “Darbaka” – through the head after a dispute over a fee for moving items in the policeman’s car. The privately owned al-Watan reported that Abdel Hakim confessed to the crime and stated he shot the driver because he “made him angry” when he tried to charge LE20 more than the agreed upon price.
Sayed’s death created outrage in Darb Al-Ahmar, with thousands of residents surrounding the Cairo Security Directorate immediately after his death and reportedly chanting anti-government slogans. The outrage carried over to Sayed’s funeral, where a Mada Masr reporter stated the atmosphere was angry and that many attendees demanded retribution for Sayed’s death.
One attendee stated that Sayed was preparing to get married in a week. “Why did they shoot him? Did they think he was a terrorist? There is not a police officer who will leave Darb Al-Ahmar peacefully,” he warned.
Members of Sayed’s family attending the funeral responded to an Interior Ministry statement claiming that the policeman shot Sayed by accident while trying to control the crowd, by asking, “How do you shoot someone through the head three times by accident?”
Both the interior minister and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi responded to the public backlash by stating that security force members who commit violations will face punishment.
Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar stated to Al-Ahram that the Interior Ministry would not protect those who violate people’s rights. Abdel Ghaffar also emphasized that “irresponsible actions” should not affect the relationship between the police and citizens, adding that everyone must stand up against those who give a bad name to the “wide range of heroic policemen who make grand sacrifices every day.”
This is not the first time that the Interior Ministry has stated that police who commit violations are the exception, rather than the rule. In response to several instances of torture within police stations that caused mass public outrage last year, the Interior Ministry released a statement asserting, “We will not allow a few individual acts to tarnish the history of police work and sacrifices by heroic men in fighting terrorism.”
On Friday, Sisi called for new security legislation that will regulate the behaviour of security forces on the streets and ensure they are punished for violations.