Police are calling on residents not to attack them when they try to make their areas a safer place to live in.
This after four police members were injured when Hanover Park residents demanded that they release a suspect to the community.
The uproar occurred after 1pm on Tuesday September 19, as police attended the crime scene of 18-year-old Reagan Jagers who was shot in and killed near Derwin Court.
According to Philippi police station’s spokesperson, Captain Lance Goliath, the teen was shot once in the head and one cartridge was found on the scene.
He said when he approached the scene, the street was filled with community members who then directed police to the shooter.
Soon after, police arrested the shooter and as he walked with police to the police van, the community stoned the police and demanded that the suspect be released to them.
Residents continued to fire shots at the police who then had to take cover while the suspect managed to get away.
Police again went in search of the suspect and another police van pulled up to safeguard the crime scene where the 18-year- old was shot.
Captain Goliath said the community once again became emotional and angry and police urged residents not to tamper with the crime scene and to step back.
He said police then called for back-up which was when another police van arrived on the scene with a suspect at the back of the vehicle whom they had arrested in the area for possession of drugs. Residents assumed that the suspect was the shooter and tried to open the back of the police van.
The community then started to stone the police who managed to get away with the suspect.
Captain Goliath said police, however, identified two residents who stoned them and as they wanted to arrest them, the community became angry and demanded that the residents be released. Police did not manage to get the suspects into the vehicle.
During the uproar three police vehicles were damaged.
When asked by the Athlone News if, according to police protocol, it is allowed for a police vehicle to approach a crime scene with a suspect in the vehicle, Captain Goliath did not respond.
However, he said, the police, undernocircumstances, expected the community to react in that way.
“We don’t expect the community to take the law into their own hands. We want to urge them not to engage in attacking police when we are trying to make their areas safer for them to live in,” he said.
“At the same time we applaud the community for giving us information and we expect them to allow the law to take its course.”
He said the community must understand that unless they give police a written statement identifying the suspects, no one will be arrested as hearsay evidence will not stand up in court.
“The community must take back their streets and take ownership of it. They should engage with their community forums and with police. In this way things will move in a positive direction,” Captain Goliath said.