Police officers who were captured on camera assaulting a JKUAT student on Monday used excessive and unnecessary force and action should be taken against them within the next 24 hours, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has directed.
“I have observed the events at JKUAT today [Monday] with profound concern. I have spoken to the Inspector-General and we both agree that firm and decisive action shall be taken against any officer who used excessive force, within the next 24 hours. The use of force by police is clearly outlined in the National Police Standing Orders,” the CS said.
The Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai has now directed the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) detectives to expedite the investigations into the brutal attack.
Mr Mutyambai warned that every officer involved would take individual responsibility in case of any violation.
He added that every person is presumed innocent and that police action should never be punitive but focus on maintenance of law and order.
“Following the unfortunate incident, the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) has been directed to commence investigations and make recommendations for action within 24 hours. Any police officer found culpable will be held accountable,” Mr Mutyambai said
The officers were captured assaulting the student and the video shared widely on social media platforms.
The officers were part of the anti-riot team that had gone to the university to restore law and order after riotous JKUAT students blocked the Thika-Nairobi highway in protest against crime and insecurity around the university.
“It is important to note that all police officers have gone through rigorous and professional training on management of riots and unlawful assemblies,” Mr Mutyambai said.
He added: “Officers have also been trained on the need to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and that, use of force must be legal and of necessity to the needs of justice; it must be applied to the extent that it remains proportionate to the gravity of the offence and with full accountability.”
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has also condemned the incident and on Tuesday morning dispatched a Rapid Response Unit to investigate the matter with a view of unravelling the facts to enable holding accountable any culpable officers.
Ipoa Chairperson Anne Makori on Tuesday expressed its disappointment at the unprofessional manner in which the police deployed their public order management mechanisms during the operation to the CS Matiang’i who pledged to support the investigations.
IPOA has also appealed for eyewitness accounts and any related information to further its investigations in the matter.