Over 230 police killings, abuses reported in three years – DPP

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions has handled at least 236 cases of police abuses in the past three years.

This brings to the fore the extent to which police excesses have continued to blight the lives of Kenyans.  

Of the cases, 107 were in respect of killings by police officers in the process of handling suspects.

DPP Noordin Haji, in a report for the years 2017 to 2020, said at least 31 cases involved shooting by law enforcement officers.

Thirty other cases, the DPP said, involved deaths of suspects while in the custody of police officers.

During the period, the DPP also handled five cases of persons killed by alleged stray bullets and 19 under other circumstances.

Over 70 cases of assault and inhumane treatment by police officers were also handled by the DPP during the period.

Haji said there were enhanced efforts to ensure criminal justice accountability during the period under review.

Even so, the numbers are low compared with the cases reported by various agencies monitoring police abuses.

Missing Voices, a website that documents police killings, says at least 376 people were killed or forced to disappear during the period.

It reports 27 cases of police killings and enforced disappearances in 2017; 75 in 2018; 144 in 2019; and 130 in 2020.

Data from the website show that most of those killed were youth from informal settlements with Nairobi accounting for most of the cases.

The concern over the years is that those killed by the police do not get justice.

Haji, in the report, said his office has taken measures to address the violations and excesses of the law enforcement agencies.

His office has established a civil rights division to enhance the promotion of human rights and address cases of inaction or action by law enforcers that result in criminal violation of citizens and non-citizens.

The division, he said, is tasked with ensuring violations are prosecuted or dealt with administratively by the National Police Service.

Haji said his office is working with IPOA to negotiate a memorandum of understanding to create rules of engagement between the two agencies.

ODPP is also developing a standard operating procedure for IPOA to guide investigators and prosecutors on dealing with police abuses.

Haji said they have designated an IPOA desk to follow up on all cases of police excesses.

“The ODPP officers act as contact persons between the two institutions,” Haji said in the report handed over to President last month.

The DPP has also formed a team to liaise with the civil society with a view to coming up with regulations to actualise the Constitution’s provisions for freedom of peaceful assembly.

The office has established a division to deal with such abuses arising from instances where victims were exercising freedom of speech.

Extrajudicial killing is generally becoming costly even to the exchequer, taking the case of the over Sh820 million the Attorney General’s office is reported to have spent in compensation of victims of police abuses.

In June, Duncan Ndiema was taken to court for the murder of 13-year-old Yasin Moyo, which is among notable cases in the DPP’s file.

The youngster was shot while standing on the balcony at his parents’ flat in Mathare on March 30.

Beckham Osoro Orwaru was charged, following public outcry, with the killing of 26-year old Karani Kinyiri in Mathare.

The death occurred while the officer was enforcing curfew orders.

Former Mlolongo OCS Stephen Lelei and former AP officer Fredric Leliman allegedly killed Jacob Mwenda and Elizabeth Nduku in 2016 in Mlolongo town.

Leliman is also an accused person in the 2016 murder of rights lawyer Willie Kimani and two others.

Emmanuel Ambunya of Kenyatta National Hospital police post was charged with the murder of university student Carlton Maina in Kibera slum.

The officer was accused of murdering the Leeds University student on December 22, 2018 at Laini Saba and is out on Sh60,000 bail.

AP officer Zaddock Ochuka Oyieka was charged in March with the murder of Daniel Mburu Wangari, a boda boda rider, outside Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital.

The rider was shot on February 18 following an argument over an unofficial Sh50 parking fee with security guards at the hospital.

Mburu had volunteered to rush to the hospital a two-and-half-year-old boy retrieved from a river in Korogocho slums.

These cases are a fraction of the pending complaints before IPOA and with the police.

There are those that are yet to go to court as they are still being investigated, among them the killing of a two-and-half-year-old boy in Kahawa West and that of three-year-old girl in Kahawa Wendani.

Edited by Henry Makori

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