A Zambia Police officer under the Solwezi Central Police Command has been dragged to court for allegedly shooting dead a man who attempted to bolt from police premises after he was arrested for impersonating someone during a driving test.
In this matter, Geoffrey Kapaipi, an administrator of the estate of the late Christopher Mashawu, has sued Constable Raymond Mwamba and the Attorney General, seeking damages for the loss of life, funeral expenses amounting to K30,000 and exemplary damages amounting to K2.5 million, among other claims.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Wednesday, Kapaipi explained that Mwamba was a police officer holding the rank of Constable under the Solwezi Central Police Command in Solwezi.
He stated that on November 22, last year, the deceased, Mashawu, was purportedly apprehended at the Road Traffic and Safety Agency (RTSA) offices in Solwezi for allegedly taking a driving test on behalf of another person.
Kapaipi stated that after brief interrogation, the deceased was taken to Solwezi Central Police Station by Mwamba and two RTSA officers where Mwamba allegedly shot dead the deceased when he attempted to bolt.
“Upon arrival at Solwezi Central Police station, the deceased allegedly attempted to bolt from police premises, then Mwamba irrationally and maliciously discharged two gunshots at the said deceased, as a result at which one bullet hit the said deceased in the chest. The said deceased immediately fell to the ground and died instantly from the gunshot injuries,” read the statement of claim.
“A post-mortem was conducted where the injuries were particularised as follows; 3cm open wound at the right side of the chest; multiple injuries on the liver; multiple injuries on the right lung; collection of blood in the chest; collection of blood in the abdominal cavity; bleeding from the mouth and broken spine.”
Kapaipi noted that Mwamba breached duty of care owed to the deceased because he owed a duty of care to individuals that he detained, arrested or imprisoned.
“Mwamba acted with reckless, disregard for the life of the deceased and was incompetent to carry out the duties of a police officer,” the statement of claim read further.
He observed that the purported offence of impersonation did not warrant the use of violent and excessive force towards the deceased given that the identity of the deceased’s purported accomplice was known to the RTSA officers and Mwamba.
Kapaipi disclosed that the deceased had left behind a wife and three infant children who have continued to suffer psychologically and emotionally as a result of Mwamba’s conduct.
He further stated that he had been put out-of-pocket as a direct result of the wrong acts of Mwamba in the sum of K30,000 in funeral expenses.
Kapaipi is now claiming for an order and declaration that Mwamba’s use of force was exceptionally violent and excessive in relation to the alleged and purported road traffic offence that the deceased is purported to have committed resulting in his death.
He is further seeking damages for unlawful deprivation of life of the deceased, damages for loss of expectation of life and future earnings, funeral expenses in the sum of K30,000, exemplary damages arising out of Mwamba’s unlawful actions in the sum of K2,500,000, any other reliefs, interest and costs.