Man loses N$ 200K Police brutality lawsuit

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

A Windhoek self-employed man, Erickson Nangolo, who claims police officers grabbed and choked him during lockdown in July 2020, suffered a blow today in the Windhoek High court after his N$ 200 000 lawsuit against the Inspector General of Nampol and the Ministry of Safety was dismissed.

Judge Eileen Rakow, however dismissed Erickson Nangolo’s application without costs. Nangolo’s accusation is that a group of police officers attacked him together with Namibian Defense Force (NDF) soldiers and knocked him unconscious. He wanted N$ 200 000 as compensation for damages he claims he suffered as a result of the said assault. Testifying that he sustained severe injuries including swelling and conjunctivitis in his left eye, muscle trauma, bruises, chest pain, headaches for several days and his nose bled.

He says he is fearing for his safety, felt humiliated, traumatized and degraded. According to his claim, members of the police carried out a wrongful assault on him, in that they grabbed and choked him by the throat, and in the process obstructed his airways.

“On Monday, 20 July 2020 at approximately 19h00 – 20h00 and at the Single Quarters Katutura, Windhoek, Namibia, during a fire incident at the said location, and in full view of members of the public, the Plaintifi was wrongfully and unlawfully assaulted by members of the Defendants, while in possession of assault rifles in their hands. By grabbing and chocking his throat, obstructing his airways as he was pushed to the Namibia Defence Force bus where more Police as well as the Namibian Defence Force officials were standing,” court papers read.

Subsequently, a group of police as well as the Namibian Defense Force officials, he says, attacked him, by kicking him and punching him with fists, and as a result, he fell to the ground where they kept on kicking him until he lost consciousness.

The Inspector General of the Police at the time, Sebastian Ndeitunga, through government attorneys, denied the allegations, saying that Nangolo was not able to identify the suspected officer that he claims abused him.

The Police Chief further denied that any physical harm or assault in the form of kicking and hitting the plaintiff with fists took place and that the police received no report of the plaintiff losing consciousness. Last year the police said they have recorded 200 cases related to police brutality between 2011 and 2021 with 37 of these cases resulting in a total payout of about N$2,8 million.

National Police Spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, said 151 cases of assault that led to civil cases were recorded during 2011 and 2021.She added that the police have won 100 claims and lost 37, while 63 were still ongoing.

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