Night before last at the Penarik-Kampung Raja road in Setiu, Trengganu, Police manning a road black shot at a Perodua Kancil which rammed through the check point.
The car continued down the road and was shortly discovered abandoned. The driver had scooted off, but inside the vehicle was an injured 14-year-old girl. She was in the car with her boyfriend, the bloke who had charged through. One of several shots fired by the police at the car hit her in the back. She was rushed to hospital, where her condition is reported to be stable.
A manhunt is on for the 20-year old boyfriend, who is alleged to be involved in the theft of outboard engines.
The New Straits Times described the police shooting as a policeman firing from his sub-machine gun. Now, I don’t want to be always bashing the police (and I have done a lot of that lately) but has this sort of police action, firing a submachine gun at a fleeing car, been proportionate?
So what if the bloke is a thief, but really, did he deserve such strong reaction? Does police procedure or standing instructions demand that kind of arresting action?
Spraying a hail of bullets onto an escaping car when there was no evident of terrorist or any firing from unknown occupant or occupants seems way too excessive. What if that bloke was a drunk and not in command of his faculties? Should our society say, "Tough luck, You were drunk, therefore you deserve to be shot!"
More importantly, what about the possibility of innocent passengers who might not have much of a say in the driver taking upon himself to violate the road block? This was what probably had happened in this case.
Certainly the police should stop the car but there could be other ways of doing that without the Rambo style of trigger-happy reaction. One of the principles of law is that it's better to let the guilty get away than to allow the innocent to be unjustly punished. That's why when there's reasonable doubt in a court case, the verdict should be in the accused's favour. The same principle should be upheld by police at the sharp end.