Cops at it again, accused of killing curfew breaker

Friday, August 20th, 2021 00:00 |
Scenes of chaos in Kayole, Nairobi following alleged killing of a resident by police officers enforcing curfew orders, on Wednesday night. Photo/Kenna Claude

Barely three days after eight police were charged in court for murder, another life was on Wednesday night snuffed out in Kayole by officers enforcing curfew orders.

After brutally assaulting John Kiiru for flouting curfew orders, they left him writhing in pain until he succumbed to the injuries.

Before he breathed his last, Kiiru gave out his wife’s contact and told residents how he was attacked, and by whom. 

He requested someone to call and inform the wife, Esther Wanjiru. “I received a call from my husband around 12.30am and he informed me that police officers had seriously assaulted him,” the wife said.

Unfortunately, she did not go since it was late in the night and she did not have a car. 

Other witnesses said the deceased had hired a boda boda to take him home and on reaching Tushauriane stage, officers in a white Toyota Probox, hit them from behind and he fell down.

The rider, however, rode away and the officers then attacked Kiiru using batons, causing him serious injuries.

Raise complaints

But in what might be seen as the epitome of callousness by the very people tasked with protecting life, they abandoned the injured man in the cold. He later succumbed to the injuries.

“Most of the residents know two of the officers who were in the car. We have raised complaints about them in the past,” a resident told People Daily

Nairobi Region Police Commander Augustine Nthumbi yesterday said investigations had been launched to establish what happened.

“Any person found responsible for the death will be charged in court even with murder,” Nthumbi said.

What followed was a day-long protest by members of the public. At some point, the officers were overwhelmed as criminals took advantage of the protests and looted shops and robbed commuters within the area, including those stocking alcoholic drinks.

Kiiru’s body remained at the scene for almost nine hours due to the running battles. One resident said Kiiru not only died a brutal and needless death, his body too was not handled with dignity and respect.

Irate members of the public pelted the officers as they hurriedly collected the body at the scene and threw it behind the police vehicle as they scampered for safety.

The Kayole-based officers were overwhelmed and their colleagues from other sub-counties and those from the General Service Unit and other specialised units were deployed to the area. 

“We have not received any reports of injuries either on the part of members of the public or the police, during the protests.

We believe some of the shops were looted and we are investigating,” Nthumbi said. The incident further lifts the lid on police killings and massive extortion within the service.

A report from the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) released on Wednesday painted a pretty grim picture of the extent of the rot.

Lifts lid

Between January and June, the authority received 21 cases of deaths in custody and 55 from police action.

Another 15 cases involved shooting causing injuries, 12 enforced disappearances and two cases of unlawful discharge of firearms.

The Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) Executive Director Peter Kiama yesterday said the situation pointed to lack of leadership in the service.

IMLU said at least 48 people have died in the hands of officers since January while 54 others have suffered injuries as a result of police attacks. 

This week alone, at least eight officers have been charged in court with murder while another officer is sought in Doldol Laikipia North for shooting his colleague dead identified as Constable Lawrence Ojwang.

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