Officer was under probe for fatally shooting man in April

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 01:20 |
Ipoa chairperson Anne Makori addresses the press yesterday on excesses by police officers. Photo/PD/JOHN OCHIENG

On April 16, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) launched investigations into the fatal shooting of Nicholas Lifede at Mountain View Estate in Kabete, Nairobi.

Lifede had on April 8 been shot dead by an officer based at Kabete Police Station.

In a statement to the newsrooms, IPOA chairperson Ann Makori said the authority had dispatched its Rapid Investigations Team to establish the circumstances that led to the shooting.

“Investigations are already underway with the Authority having taken some witness accounts and attended the post mortem examination,” Makori said.

Yesterday morning – about eight months later – the main suspect in the fatal shooting, Constable Benson Imbatu, went berserk and shot dead his lover and five men before turning the gun on himself.

Imbatu had been assigned night guard duties and when he excused himself to drive to his home while armed, his colleagues did not suspect anything.

Though he was under investigations for a serious offence, the officer continued discharging his duties and would be armed.

Makori had said that upon conclusion of the investigation, the authority would make appropriate recommendations, including prosecution in the event that culpability for using lethal force inappropriately, was established.

Filmed by girl

The matter was, however, still under investigations and IPOA was yet to submit the file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

“Administrative action ought to have been taken even as the matter was pending. Such unfortunate deaths could have been avoided,” a senior detective told People Daily yesterday.

According to a family member, the officer shot Lifede during an altercation at their home.

He was shot while allegedly defending his little sister who had been assaulted by the officer for filming them while at their residence, behind a liquor shop owned by their mother.

The officer is said to have become agitated when he realised they were being filmed. He then snatched the phone and slapped the girl in the process.

When Lifede protested the attack on his sister, the officer reportedly hit him and he fell down.

His mother said the officer then dragged him out of the gate and shot him dead.

Dagoretti Sub-County Police Commander Francis Wahome, however, told journalists that the officers had arrested a man with bhang and the suspect then led them to his business premises.

According to Wahome, the officers fired to defend themselves against a surging crowd.

Mental health

But the residents dismissed the police version of events, saying the officers frequented the area to collect bribes and to harass locals and business owners.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday said the matter was under investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Internal Affairs Unit.

He urged the public to refrain from trivialising and politicising the matter, especially on social media.

“Like any other members of society, police and prisons officers are susceptible to mental health challenges and other pressures including drugs and substance abuse. The government in collaboration with the Police and Prison service has enhanced counselling and medical help for affected officers,” Matiang’i said.

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