• The shoeshiner wanted the police officer to forgive the boda boda rider for not wearing a face mask - and forego the demanded Sh50 bribe.
• Witnesses said he was fatally shot, a riot broke out and two other people died. The police commander's house was torched in Lessos township, Nandi. The police officer was arrested.
A riot broke out on Thursday in Lessos, Nandi, after a police officer fatally shot a shoe shiner intervening over his demand for a Sh50 bribe from a boda boda rider not wearing a mask.
The officer was arrested.
Two other people died in the riot that continued into the evening.
Witnesses told the Star Lazarus Tirop. 37, a father of four, was felled by a police bullet when he urged the police officer not to arrest the boda boda rider. The man had pleaded for mercy from the officer who demanded a Sh50 bribe not to jail him.
“We are sorry for the act of one of our officers. We will sure the truth is established and the law takes its course," police commander Samson Kinne told the Star on the phone.
A violent row erupted among the three men, the police officer, the boda boda rider and the shoeshiner-cobbler.
The shoeshiner was shot in the head at point-blank range, witnesses said.
When word went round about the death, furious villagers streamed into the trading centre and set the house of the area police boss ablaze. The property of other police officers was dragged from their houses and set ablaze.
Five people suffered gunshot wounds.
Police commander Kinne said one man was shot dead after attempting to break into the armoury.
Another fell down after scaling a flag post, hitting his head on a rock and dying instantly.
Commander Kinne said he had been attending a meeting elsewhere after a police officer shot dead two villagers at random at Katanin village on the Nandi-Kakamega border.
He said officers had been dispatched to the town to quell the riot as investigations into the killing started.
Police officers at Lessos station are said to be notorious for collecting bribes in the high-crime area.
MCA Emmanuel Mengech said the police station is notorious for housing a 'kangaroo court' within the station.
“Alternative dispute resolution does not make police become prosecutors nd judges to declare the amount of bribes they should be paid," he said.
He asked Independent Policing Oversight Authority to move with speed as Kenyans are terrified of the people who should be protecting them.
“It’s either a bribe or death, which one should one choose lies in the hands of the officer,”the MCA shouted.
A week ago two people - Boniface Kiprotich and Kevin Kipchumba - were each shot in the head by a rogue officer during a negotiating session with a neighbour, witnesses said.
(Edited by V. Graham)