Condolences continue to pour in for slain former KwaZulu Natal rugby player Lindani Myeni, who was shot multiple times by officers from the Honolulu police department in Hawaii, as they were responding to an alleged ‘burglary in progress’ at a home in Nu’uanu. The father of two was taken to Queen Emma’s hospital but did not survive. 

The topic of police brutality in the United States has been in the spotlight during the time when Lindani Myeni was shot four times last week. This incident occurred while the world was focusing on George Floyd’s trial where Derek Chauvin was convicted for the murder of Floyd who died at the hands of police officers. The infamous case of George Floyd sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Honolulu Police Department (HPD) released a disturbing bodycam footage which revealed how Myeni was tased and shot four times by three officers from Hawaii last week on Wednesday. This happened after Hawaii police were responding to a call about a burglary that was in progress at the time.

Bodycam footage

The police released bodycam footage as part of their investigation, the Myeni family have labelled the investigation report as “one sided”.

The Hawaii police have denied any wrongdoing and believe that their actions were justified as a suspect was violent towards them. 

The bodycam footage released by the Hawaii police shows about three police officers who confront Myeni without introducing themselves, Myeni attacked the officers and the scuffle ensued then. The police officer could be seen employing a taser, a bullet could be heard which is then followed by three bullets all fired at Myeni.

It was only after firing bullets at Myeni that they could be heard saying “police”.

Police response

The Honolulu police department’s acting deputy chief Allan Nagata claimed that it was dark and officers could not tell whether he (the suspect) had a weapon or not. He hailed them as brave.

Nagata said “they were in the fight for their lives, let me be clear with you and as a result, they did very well, they were very brave. They fought for their lives. I was very impressed by what they did. They didn’t shoot” or discharge the firearm right away. This was not a case of overreaction,” said Nagata.

It will be clearer what exactly transpired once more footage and more evidence is released.

Calls for justice from South Africa’s political leaders and the Myeni family

Political parties are sending their condolences to the family of the expat who was married to a US citizen, Lindsay. Before relocating to Hawaii this year, they stayed at Empangeni, KwaZulu Natal for about three years.

The ANC, PAC and EFF sent their heartfelt condolences and called for the South African government to intervene. 

Although the South African government has not uttered a word regarding this incident, the third largest political party in the country, Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF), called on the government to intervene in the matter.

When contacted for comment by Newsi, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said the matter was still in the hands of American authorities, “the US authorities are still investigating the matter,” Ngqengelele said.

“The ANC is confident that the South African government will do everything possible within its power to get a full report from the American authorities on the circumstances that led to the death of Mr Myeni at the hands of the police,” ANC Spokesperson Pule Mabe said.

The EFF’s Vusi Khoza said “the police in America are always on the news for killing unarmed black people. What makes it even more painful is that we are going through the trial of George Floyd. It is not even completed yet,” Khoza said.

George Floyd’s murder trial was concluded this week.

The Pan Africanist Congress  spokesperson Jaki Seroke said “the slain South African rugby star, who was shot and killed by US cops recently is an added casualty to the unending list of innocent African youth in the diaspora who are shot by systematic racism and asked questions later when they are dead,” Seroke said.

Although a minute-long bodycam footage was released by the police, Lindani Myeni’s widow is calling for the full bodycam footage of her late husband’s shooting.

On Sunday, Lindsay demanded the full bodycam footage, “We will not stop until we get all of the bodycam footage, the Ring cam footage from the house he was at, every angle, every word that was spoken,” she said. “South Africa will not let this go. You killed their Prince. May you never assume another black man is a criminal and murder him on the way home again,” she added.

In one of her social media posts, Lindsay revealed that Myeni passed away at Queen Emma’s hospital. 

In the series of Facebook posts, Lindsay thanked everyone who was showing support since the incident, and also opened up about how she and her two kids have been staying at her friend’s house.

Myeni’s widow said that the former rugby player would be buried in his home country, “We’re taking Lindani’s body to be buried at home in South Africa.”

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Kenneth Mokgatlhe

Kenneth Mokgatlhe is a political and social commentator.

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