Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti fought back tears Thursday during a public dialogue organised to listen to relatives of victims of extrajudicial killings in Kayole, Nairobi.
“I have listened and seen people cry here until my tears started to drip. I can equally be emotional,” said Mr Kinoti at the Kayole Social Hall, where he and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji opened engagements with locals over extrajudicial killings in the estate.
The two, who were accompanied by activists from several human rights organisations, were taken to account by residents to explain the operations of 'Hessy' or ‘killer cops’ in the area widely blamed for lives lost through extrajudicial killings.
One by one, residents narrated their stories of loss, pain and anguish, causing many in the audience to shed tears.
At one point, Mr Kinoti could be seen head up, eyes shut, probably as tears stung his eyes, as a young woman with a baby clutched on her waist, broke down narrating how she had had two husbands gunned down by the notorious ‘Hessy wa Kayole’ within two years.
Mr Kinoti and Mr Haji were overwhelmed with complaints from the estate’s residents, which is considered one of the criminal dens of Nairobi’s Eastlands for shadowy lawless gangs and drug lords.
To ensure justice for all, Mr Haji said they had embraced the ‘cordial’ approach “as a crime-fighting measure” to try and understand where the problem is.
The team had been to Mombasa on a similar exercise on Wednesday.
Mr Kinoti denied existence of a special government regiment designed to eliminate criminals, saying ‘Hessys’ or ‘killer cops’ as they are generally referred to by the residents, are rogue individuals killing the innocent.
“I stand before God, if myself or anybody who will ever cover for someone who has killed an innocent person, let God curse me,” vowed Mr Kinoti.
"I acknowledge that the police kill innocent civilians unlawfully and it is a fact because I have seen it. But don’t think we’re happy to hear this. Some of these rogue officers kill us as well.
“How many of us have been killed by our junior officers? So if we don’t isolate them now they are going to be threats to ourselves too. We are appealing to the public to help us rid society of these characters by reporting to us,” he observed.
“There is no word like extrajudicial killings, but we have unlawful killings by police officers,” he offered.
“There are isolated cases where our police went overboard and most of them have been arrested and are undergoing prosecution as we speak, while others are already serving terms.”
He said they are investigating a number of cases of illegal killings by police, but called for fairness.
“But where are all those who have been victims of criminality? No single person has stood here to say that my child, husband or wife has been a victim of these lethal criminal gangs. Who speaks for them? Why are we only (saying) about the Hessys? We need to be balanced.”
Mr Haji added: “When we call it extrajudicial killing, it means these are killings sanctioned by the government. But there is no order like that from the government.”