PROTESTORS GATHERED outside a Dublin police station on New Year’s Eve following the fatal shooting of a black man by Garda officers earlier this week.
George Nkencho, 27, was shot at least three times in his front garden by officers from the Blanchardstown Armed Support Unit (ASU).
At the time of the shooting, Nkencho was reportedly holding a knife he had earlier used to threaten supermarket staff and several gardaí.
Over one hundred demonstrators gathered outside Blanchardstown Garda Station to protest the incident.
Protestors were later filmed marching through Blanchardstown shopping centre before taking a knee in front of traffic.
The authorities were forced to close a section of Navan Road to traffic as a result of the protest.
A protest has started for George Nkencho outside Blanchardstown Garda Station. #GeorgeNkencho pic.twitter.com/voXIjxUjU0
— Ciara O'Loughlin (@Ciara_olo) December 31, 2020
Signs featuring messages like “Justice for George” and “Black Lives Matter” were visible during the demonstrations.
The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has taken to Twitter to offer his condolences to Nkencho’s family while calling for calm in the wake of the incident.
Varadkar was particularly eager for the public to refrain from further “social media speculation” branding it “unhelpful at this stage”.
I would also urge people, especially public representatives, not to add to social media speculation about the incident. That is unhelpful at this stage 2/2.
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) December 31, 2020
His comments come after video footage of the shooting emerged on social media.
Investigators from the Garda Ombudsman are set to investigate the incident, which unfolded outside Nkencho’s family home on Manorfields Drive in Clonee, west Dublin.
Officers were first called the scene after Nkencho reportedly entered a Eurospar supermarket in Hartstown and punched the manager in the face.
He allegedly then proceeded to withdraw a knife from his pocket while was brandished towards several members of staff.
By the time unarmed gardaí arrived on the scene, Nkencho had moved on to the Post Office section of Hartstown Shopping Centre.
Justice for #GeorgeNkencho protestors walk through #Blanchardstown Shopping Centre #Dublin after their demonstration outside Blanchardstown Gardai Station earlier... #BlanchardstownShoppingCentre pic.twitter.com/98z4TXZrS8
— Robbie Kane (@robbiekane74) December 31, 2020
As many as 12 unarmed officers followed Nkencho out of the shop and back towards his home, all while requesting that he drop the knife he was holding.
Armed officers only became involved when he reached his front garden at around 12:30pm, when the shooting occurred.
In the wake of the incident An Garda Síochána issued a statement defending what it described as a “graduated policing response” that followed officers being threatened with a knife.
Pepper spray and taser guns were both deployed as attempts at use of less-than-lethal force but proved unsuccessful in de-escalating the situation.
Though first aid was administered, Nkencho was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to James Connolly Memorial Hospital.