A 59 year old man of Themashanga village in the North East District, Kangangwani Manatsha, has taken the Police Commissioner, Keabetswe Mokgophe to court demanding P500 000 as compensation for unlawful arrest, detention and assault by the police.
The case is before Francistown High Court Judge, Professor Kholisani Solo.
Giving evidence in court on Monday, a clearly distraught Manatsha said on the 6th of August 2013 in Themashanga village while in his yard in the evening, a group of police officers from Themashanga Customary Court stormed his home and arrested him without giving any explanation. He said one of the police officers identified himself as Mari and when he (plaintiff) asked why he was arrested, the officer simply ignored him, became impatient, lost his temper and ordered the other officers to handcuff him.
“One of the officers identified himself as Mari. This officer ordered his colleagues to handcuff me. When I was still baffled by what was happening, they dragged me to their offices at the customary court. After a while, Mari left his office and came back with a knobkerrie which he used to heavily assault me in the presence of the other officers. The assault was demeaning and embarrassing as it was done in the presence of the other police officers. There was no justification for the assault,” the plaintiff told court.
The plaintiff emphasized that the assault was inhuman as he was beaten repeatedly with a knobkerrie on his right knee and on the right hip. He said that he fell to the ground and Mari proceeded to hit him in his mouth with a knobkerrie up until he lost five of his teeth.
“I lost five of my teeth. Six more teeth are now loose as a result of the beatings. As this was happening, I was helpless as I was handcuffed and I swirled on the ground like a snake. I sustained permanent injuries on my knee, abrasions in my face, swollen ribs and since then, I always experience pains all over my body due to this assault.,” said the plaintiff as he sighed emotionally.
The plaintiff said after the assault he was then detained at Themashanga Customary Court holding cells for about two hours although he was reeling in severe pain. He said it was only upon his persistent plea with Mari to be taken to hospital that the police from Tshesebe Police Station were called to assist him. He was taken for medical assistance in the late evening to Tshesebe Clinic. After the medical examination, the police then released him from custody without any charges during the same day.
“The unlawful assault and wounding by the police caused me great pain, suffering, permanent disfigurement and humiliation. Their treatment was degrading and inhuman,” he said.
The plaintiff who is an electrician by profession told court that the injuries he sustained from the assaults have impacted on his ability to make a living as he is now disabled to do his work as an electrician.
“I am an electrician and most of the time I have to climb on step ladders to do my work. I am failing because my knees have since been affected by the assault from the police. I am a breadwinner and I have three children. I no longer have any income,” the plaintiff said as he also displayed the scars on his knees to the court.
The plaintiff is represented by Mishingo Jeremia of Jeremia Attorneys while the Police Commissioner who is the respondent is represented by O.M Moalosi from the Attorney General (AG).
Trial continues as the Attorney General is yet to call its witnesses.