Namibia: Family Claims Police Lied About Teen Shooting

The family of a young man who was fatally shot by an undercover police officer on Sunday night claims the police lied about the circumstances surrounding his death.

Jonny Doëseb (18), was shot by police officers in Windhoek after allegedly resisting arrest and attempting to assault the officers.

However, his family claims the police are hiding the truth. The family yesterday provided The Namibian with several video clips of two officers in civilian clothes who appeared to be manhandling Doëseb before one of them fires the fatal shot.

Speaking to The Namibian yesterday at their home in Katutura's Damara location, Doëseb's family said he was manhandled by the police officers before he was shot without him putting up any resistance.

Doëseb's mother, who was travelling from Aranos, sat quietly on the sofa as the family narrated what happened.

The family further claimed that the police provided wrong information, such as the name of the victim which was misspelt as 'John Dausab' in the police report, the street address, and other critical information.

According to a police report released on Monday, an on-duty officer allegedly shot and killed Doëseb, whom they described as unruly, during an undercover operation.

The police report stated that the incident happened along Max Eixab Street, while the family said the shooting happened along Ulrich Zwingt Street near Josef Gariseb Street.

Police spokesperson, chief inspector Kauna Shikwambi, told The Namibian on Monday that Doëseb was a wanted criminal who was out on bail. Once the undercover officers found out where he was, they went out to arrest him.

However, the suspect was unruly and resisted arrest, which led to the officer shooting him in self-defence, Shikwambi had said.

The family denied that Doëseb was 'a wanted, dangerous suspect' who was on bail. They also said Doëseb has never been in jail, and does not have a criminal record.

Doëseb's older sister, Yeonice Doëses, said they were at home on Sunday night having dinner when her brother decided to go around the corner to buy "Drink-o-Pop".

After he left, she heard a commotion outside, and someone ran to her saying "your brother is fighting".

Once she arrived at the scene, Doëses questioned the two officers, who were in civilian clothes and did not provide an arrest warrant or show any identification, why they were attacking her brother.

"I tried stopping the officer from beating my brother, but then he threatened to beat me," she said.

She added that one of the police officers then kicked her in the face, and someone from the crowd threw a bottle in the direction of the officers in her defence.

"That bottle never hit him [the police officer]," she claimed.

When the crowd tried to defend Doëses and her brother, the police officers allegedly drew their guns, and the crowd retreated.

A third police officer, whom the community knows as "Shorty" and who usually roams the streets, arrived on the scene and shackled Doëseb to one of the police officers, but later went away.

"How would he attack the police officer if he was handcuffed to him?" she asked.

Doëses continued that the police officer pinned Doëseb to the wall, and shot him. His body was then dragged up the street before the officer removed the handcuffs.

Another family member, Ray-Charles Claasen, who was at the scene when the police officers arrived, said Doëseb pleaded with the police officers not to assault him.

"He was not resisting any arrest. All he was saying is 'wait, let's just talk," Claasen added.

In multiple recorded videos shown to The Namibian, Doëseb is seen being pulled by the shirt by two police officers, one clad in a navy blue jumpsuit and the other in a red shirt and blue pants.

A third man in a white shirt is seen holding handcuffs, while someone in the crowd shouts: "Shorty, wag eers (Shorty, wait first)".

Several clips later, a gunshot is heard, and a man is heard screaming: "It's that guy who shot him".

Doëses said shortly after the shooting, a car arrived to fetch the police officer who had shot her brother, but left Doëseb's body there. The body was only picked up later by an ambulance.

Doëses stressed that the police officer was not injured, as stated in the police report. She said when the City Police arrived on the scene, they did not ask from the family or crowd what had happened.

Doëses said she feels guilty about what happened to her brother because if she had not arrived at the scene, no commotion would have taken place.

"I cannot sleep at night," she lamented.

Shirley Gertze, the head of department of the commerce field at the Goreangab Junior Secondary School, said Doëseb, who was in Grade 10, was one of the best pupils, and never had anything on his disciplinary record at the school.

"What we hear from outside and how we know Johnny are two different things. It could have been peer pressure or social pressure outside, but his marks were good," she stated.

Shikwambi told The Namibian yesterday that Doëseb, in this specific incident, was a wanted person and the police had all the legitimate reasons to effect an arrest.

She said Doëseb had a number of cases against him ranging from malicious damage to property, robbery by knife point, warrant of arrest, possession of suspected stolen properties, housebreaking, assault to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH), attempted robbery and attempted murder.

"The recent unfortunate incident where a young man lost his life could have been avoided had the now deceased suspect cooperated with the police," she said.

Shikwambi added that a murder case has been opened against the police officer.

"We appeal to all witnesses to report to the Katutura Police Station and submit their statement to assist with the speedy finalisation of the investigation," she said.

She also urged the public not to draw their own conclusions and from circulating "unnecessary threats on social media which can cause fear and panic among the society".

"When the police executes an arrest, it does not mean that the person is guilty and therefore the arrest process is expected to be executed in the most peaceful manner; meaning cooperation as well as professionalism must be applied at all times," she said.

Meanwhile, student and youth command element of the Landless People's Movement, Duminga Ndala, in a statement yesterday urged the Office of the Ombudsman to intervene in "the atrocities that are being committed by the Namibian Police as well as the military deployed on the streets".

"Our views on the militarisation of local communities through the deployment of the army and police in peacetime for law and order duties is uncalled for, and suffice to say, the long-term effects will be more harmful to our country than the apparent short-term gains if much is not done to stop the brutal killings of our citizens," she said.

Ndala further condemned any shootings or any form of violence from the police that could result in a civil war due to retaliation by the community.

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