Source: Bring to book violent cops – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 12, 2016
After last week’s protests, spine-chilling videos of police assaulting suspected demonstrators emerged on social media, with Zimbabweans and the world watching aghast at the beatings.
That Zimbabwean police are prone to excesses is well documented, but the video of the suspected protesters being assaulted in that manner may have been calculated to scare potential demonstrators, as a wave of protests threatens to sweep across the country.
How and why the police should act in such a callous manner is anyone’s guess, but is shows what has always been known about the force.
The suspected protesters were already in police custody and why the officers decided to break the law in such a shameless fashion, while one of their colleagues recorded it on a mobile phone, beggars belief.
Maybe the officer, who recorded it, has a sadistic fetish and enjoys watching people suffer. Whatever the reason, the video was sickening and showed a wicked side of the concerned officers.
The victims of the abuse should now test the law by identifying the officers who assaulted them and sue them in their personal capacities and seek their arrest.
Being a police officer is not a licence to be cruel and use brutish force on the very citizens you are supposed to be defending.
The law is there to protect people against such brazen barbarism and there is need that the victims of that abuse be helped by civil society organisations and lawyers to ensure that those police officers are brought to book.
It is high time a case of police brutality was brought to the courts and it will send a message to others that they cannot always have it their way.
The major reason to last Monday’s protests were police excesses and such videos, instead of cowing citizens, may embolden them and they may challenge the law enforcement agencies, creating a powder keg environment.
We hope police bosses also take on this case and seek out all the officers and throw the book at them.
Failure by Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to investigate these officers will be seen as condoning police excesses and this will strain the public’s relations with the police.
Instead of the regular acerbic statements from the police, the force should start engaging with the public and try to mend relations.
Zimbabweans are supposed to trust and respect their police force, rather than this situation, where the force is seen as a blunt instrument of oppression, only concerned with the survival of the political elite instead of the peaceful development of Zimbabwe.
It is highly unacceptable that after 36 years of independence, our police force is mimicking the operations of the colonial regime.