Man sues police for N$900 000
01 February 2021 | Police
An unemployed man is suing the Namibian police and three police officers for close to N$1 million for allegedly being assaulted to such an extent that he defecated during the attack in addition to sustaining various physical injuries while in custody.
The police deny the assault, arguing that the man had insulted a police officer while drunk and was taken to the police station to sober up.
Court documents filed at the High Court by Ebson Katire, an Otjomuise resident, detail the alleged assault by multiple police officers which took place in September 2019 in Okondjatu in the Otjozondjupa region.
Katire is suing the police and the three police officers for N$900 000 in damages, claiming that he not only sustained physical injuries, including a dislocated left shoulder, but experienced mental distress, shock and discomfort in the wake of the alleged assault.
Katire identifies the three police officers who allegedly beat and kicked him only as officers Kaura, Katira and Upi. Papers submitted to court allege that he was planning to travel to Windhoek from Okondjatu on 11 September, but had to wait at a nearby cuca shop for a few hours before the bus departed.
He claims that after a while he crossed the road to “relieve myself” and saw a police officer he knew, Officer Kaura. He claims he asked the police officer why he was not at the police station as he was dressed in full uniform.
Another two hours later, he again asked officer Kaura why he was in uniform but not at the police station.
Katire claims that when he approached the taxi bus, which was ready to depart, he shouted at the police officer “that if he does not go to the police station, I will beat him up before I depart”.
A few moments later, Katire alleges that a Toyota bakkie arrived, with two more police officers. He was bundled into the vehicle and taken to the police station.
His court papers claim that he was handcuffed and then severely assaulted by the three police officers. “The defendants were kicking me with boots all over my body, punching me, hitting me with their hands, and twisting my handcuffed arms.”
He further alleges that “the brutal assault lasted for more than an hour, until [he] defecated”.
He says he was kept at the police station for more than 24 hours and eventually released without being charged with a crime.
In their defence, the police allege that Katire had insulted the police officers in question, and he was “brought to the police station to sober up and was released the next day with a warning”.
The police deny all allegations related to the alleged assault, underlining that Katire had been “hurling insults” at one of their officers but had not been kicked, beaten or in any way physically assaulted while in their custody.
“Katire appeared very drunk and continued to hurl insulting words at the police officer. The police officer was confronted by the plaintiff who insulted him by swearing at him and using words of an abusive and insulting nature towards him in his official capacity as a police officer.”
Katire’s is being assisted by lawyers from the Brockerhoff & Associates legal practitioners, while the government and police officers are represented by government attorneys.
This month the legal teams met for a pre-trial conference hearing, and the next court date is yet to be set.