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Courts increasingly taming rogue police officers

Chief Inspector Peninah Kamicha trying to disarm a G3 riffle from a rogue police officer who was drunk (center) at Bondeni estate in Nakuru town./FILE
Chief Inspector Peninah Kamicha trying to disarm a G3 riffle from a rogue police officer who was drunk (center) at Bondeni estate in Nakuru town./FILE

Killer cops, even celebrated ones, are increasingly finding themselves behind bars, serving prison terms, or awaiting them.

For years Kenyan police have been a law unto themselves and while it may be too early to pronounce that justice prevails, sustained pressure from the public and rights groups, and meticulous investigations have helped bring rogue officers to book.

Though justice has been slow, the number of police officers charged and convicted for extrajudicial killings and the number of pending court cases gives hope.

Celbrity cop Titus Ngamau Musila alias Katitu

Convicted in April last year for gunning down Kenneth Kimani Mwangi on April 14, 2013, at the Githurai 45 bus stage, accusing him of being a thug.

Musila was the darling of Githurai resident for being a crime buster. Residents staged demonstrations and battled police to demand his release. Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko posted Sh1 million for him. Supporters said he had been framed by civil society groups, yet he had rid the area of criminals.

High Court Judge James Wakiaga sentenced the officer to 15 years in prison, ruling that Musila fired the bullet. He said the issue was not about police officers ridding estates of criminals but how they do it. Police are not above the law, he ruled

Corporals Benjamin Kahindi Changawa, Stanley Okoti

The two AP officers were sentenced to death by High Court justice Stella Mutuku for shooting their colleague, AP Constable Joseph Obongo Onchuru at a club in Kangemi, Nairobi, in 2014.

The were also convicted of shooting dead two of Onchuru's relatives, Geoffrey Nyabuto Mogoi and Amos Okenye Makori. Constable Onchuru was the aide of Joel Onyancha who was the Bomachoge MP.

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He had dropped his boss at JKIA and returned to Kitisuru AP camp base. He had his two relatives take him for a drink at the Kangemi club. They drank but Onchuru sat alone in a corner, raising suspicion.

Questioned by bar management and security, the AP flashed a pistol without identifying himself. The guards and the bar management overpowered him and detained him in the kitchen before calling police. The responding officers were told the "attacker was armed and dangerous".

The prosecution said the officer had identified himself and surrendered, but his colleagues shot him at close range.

Ipoa recommended the DPP to charge the two with murder.

Nahashon Mutua

The former Ruaraka OCS was sentenced to death on February 14 for killing miraa trader Martin Koome in the station's cells five years ago.

Koome from Baba Dogo had returned home drunk, quarreled with his wife and threatened to jump to his death, taking their one-year-old child. Police were summoned and took him to the station.

He refused to enter the cells, so OCS Mutua beat Koome's head and ribs with a metal rod.

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High Court Judge Stella Mutuku said Mutua misused his authority , disregarded the Constitution, the law and NPS standing orders. Mutua intimidated and framed Koome's cellmate Kevin Odhiambo for the death, falsely claiming he fatally assaulted Koome, charging him in court.

A year later, the International Justice Mission (ICJ) filed a complaint with Ipoa over the false charges against Odhiambo. Odhiambo was set free and the former OCS charged with murder in 2014.

Justice Stella Mutuku found Mutua had killed Koome.

Salim Mohamed

The High Court handed police officer Salim Mohamed 12 years in jail on November 28 last year for causing the death of Margaret Njeri, 22 in Lamu.

The officer tried to arrest a a speeding boda boda rider carrying Njeri January 17, 2015. To stop the bike, the officer hurled his gun at him, prompting Njeri to jump off. The gun hit Njeri on the side of the head. She died on March 1.

The officer was charged with murder, later reduced to causing the accident that killed the woman.

Justice Weldon Korir found the officer guilty of misusing his authority and weapon, resulting in death.

Peter Musau Maweu, Jonathan Nzivo John Nabea, Bernard Engolet and Sammy Mwova

On March 20 last year, the five AP officers were imprisoned for killing a reveller during a bar crackdown in Umau village, Mbeere South subcounty, Embu county. The victim, Danson Wachera, had been drinking outside drinking hours.

The five were on an operation n January 11, 2014. They beat Wachira and took him to Kiritiri Police Station. The booking officer advised them to take Wachera to the hospital

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The officers dumped Wachira three kilometres from the station where he died. His decomposing body was found.

The judge ruled it was not premeditated murder, jailing the five for 10 years each.

Officers inquest recommended should be investigated for extrajudicial executions and brutality

John Thiringi, Titus Yoma, Christopher Mutune, Linah Kogei and Benjamin Koima.

The five were top-ranking police officials in Kisumu when Baby Samantha Pendo was killed in violence after the announcement that Uhuru Kenyatta had won reelection in August 2017.

Thiringi is the former OCS, Yoma former county commander, Mutune former OCPD, Kogei Inspector of Police, Koima AP commandant for Kisumu Central. They were found culpable of brutality leading to Baby Pendo's death.

Kisumu resident magistrate Beryl Omollo who led the inquest recommended criminal prosecutions for the officers. She ruled evidence confirmed police fired tear gas into the house where Pendo's parents were sleeping before breaking in the house and smashing her head with a baton.

AP officers Frederick Leliman, Leonard Mwangi, Stephen Chebulet and Sylvia Wanjiku

The four are on trial in Nairobi High court for the murder of IJM lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri in 2016.

The trial has entered a critical phase, witnesses have been called. Presiding judge Jessie Lessit has ordered a trial within a trial to determine legitimacy of a confession by a witness Peter Kamau whose incriminating evidence is contested.

Evans Wiyema

The anti-stock theft officer is facing trial for killing a fisherman in Naivasha in 2014.

Ipoa and human rights agencies pursued the case and in August last year, the DPP directed that the officer be arraigned on murder charges.

The matter before Justice Richard Mwongo at the Naivasha law court was adjourned to Marcha after police failed to produce the murder weapon.

AP officers William Chirchir and Godfrey Kirui

Chirchir from Makadara police station and Kirui from Industrial area are accused of killing Janet Waiyaki at City Park on May 20 last year.

Janet Waiyaki, 41, was shot dead at City Park on May 20 last year while in a vehicle with her nephew Bernard Chege who was injured.

The trial started on February 6.

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Reports indicate five policemen were at the scene.

Kehancha OCS Kipsaina Serem

On July 30 last year, the High Court ordered Serem be charged with the murder.

Justice Anthony Mrima found the officer guilty of contempt of court having failed to produce Daniel Baru, dead or alive, as ordered. The suspect went missing from custody after arrest for robbery on January 12, 2017. The justice concluded he was murdered.

Malindi cops

Officers Amos Kiptoo Kipsang' and Simeon Oyoo Ayodo are accused of shooting dead a 17-year-old Kilifi boy are facing murder charges. Katana was killed on June 26 last year, shot in the back.

Muhurui said he and six others were pushing a truck stuck in the mud in Kalonleni.

Police said the lorry had been stolen and opened fire, Muhuru said.