In a ruling delivered in Mukurwe Ini, Nyeri County, a police officer named Chibungu Sanga was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of 33-year-old Kingori Kanyi.
The incident, which occurred eight years ago following a bar altercation, has left Kanyi's family grappling with grief and hardship. Kanyi's elderly father and widow, Gladys Gathoni, had anticipated a murder conviction, expressing that life has been fraught with challenges since Kanyi's death. Gathoni has been left to raise their two children single-handedly.
The Verdict and Its Impact
The manslaughter verdict was not the outcome the family or their lawyer, Edward Mbanya, from the International Justice Mission, had hoped for. They had set their sights on a murder conviction.
Despite the long and arduous journey, the family finds some solace in the fact that justice, though not in the measure they had desired, is finally being served. They cling to the hope that Sanga will be meted out the sternest sentence permissible under the law.
Throughout the trial, the family's lawyer emphasised that Sanga was guilty of using excessive force, not acting in self-defense as he purported. The incident has highlighted the broader issue of police officers resorting to unnecessary violence, a subject that has sparked global debates and calls for police reforms. Mbanya also underscored the need for speedier justice, arguing that victims should not have to wait eight years for a verdict.
Similar Cases Across the Globe
Similar cases have unfolded across the globe, pointing to a troubling trend in law enforcement. For instance, in Fort Worth, Texas, the city council members proposed a $3.5 million settlement for Zion Carr, who witnessed a police officer fatally shoot his aunt, Atatiana Jefferson.
The former officer, Aaron Dean, who is White, was found guilty of manslaughter. Back in 2016, a St Kitts and Nevis Police Officer was charged with manslaughter for shooting his colleague, Police Constable Brian Pacquette.