Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mob Justice, Mob Injustice: Where is the Police?

A crime is committed, the perpetrator suspect is caught. The next logical step would be to call the police / report the incident to the police / send the suspect to the police. More often than not, this next logical step is ignored, omitted and a rather illogical step is adopted. The suspect is lynched. Mob justice? Where is the police?

Some 10 odd years ago, a robber attacked me. I lived, injured, but I lived. My brother rushes me to the hospital after the attack but was told to pass by the police station to pick up a hospital form first. We get to the police station, the police take a look at my bruised self, my brother reports the incident, obtains the hospital form, we are about to head on out to the hospital when one of the police officers stops us. He tells my brother the vehicle at the station has been taken out by another officer and he would be grateful if my brother could take the police to the location of the incident. My brother tells him his priority at that moment is to get me to a hospital since the extent of my injuries are unknown. Then we leave.

Thankfully my injuries weren't life threatening.
My brother and I leave the hospital after about an hour and head home. We are almost home when some guys in my neighbourhood stop the car. They ask me to come and identify the body of the robber (seriously). They'd chased him down after I left to the hospital, caught him, inflicted machete wounds on him and stoned him. Mob justice, mob injustice? Where was the police? Turns out a police officer from the station my brother made the report to arrived at the scene moments after the robber took his last breath. All he could say was if only he had been there earlier, the robber would not have been killed.
Where is the police? The police are inadequately resourced and lack access to logistics (a car) needed to perform their duties.
In situations where civilians chase a robber and catch the robber, what are they to do? Hold on to the robber until the police arrive? Transport the robber to the police station?

One morning sometime in the 90's, I heard a loud bang while sweeping outside. Later in the morning, I was sweeping inside the house when I found a bullet. I screamed, I shouted, my mum came running asking what was going on. I showed her the bullet. We looked up, and there in the ceiling was a bullet hole. How was that even possible? A report was made to the police and two police officers arrived at my house later. They stood marveling at the bullet hole while staring disbelievingly at the bullet, and joined everyone around in writing the incident off as a spiritual attack. Me, I was standing there thinking of stray bullets and trying to remember if I'd heard a chopper or a plane flying around before I heard the loud bang. I also remember trying to figure out if it was possible the shot had been fired from a storey building, and I remember wondering why the police weren't on the roof measuring, calculating, and looking for the nearest storey buildings. I was 11 years old. The police took the bullet away with them and we never saw them again. The investigation, if there was any, was closed (I guess).
Where is the police? Well, turns out the police are a tad bit too spiritual to think about investigating a crime scene. We're in Africa. How about writing off potential criminal activity as a spiritual attack.

A few weeks ago, I went to church and my priest shared the story of a similar incident that happened in his office. A bullet was shot through the roof. A police officer arrived after a report was made and he reeked of alcohol.
Where is the police? Indulging in extra curricular activities while on the job.

I've heard a number of cases where reports have been made to the police, suspects have been arrested and then released by the police without an investigation.

I heard a story in the news where a possibly mentally deranged man went on rampage injuring people and destroying property. A report was made to the police. A police officer gave pepper spray to those that made the report. He said he was the only one at the station and he couldn't leave since some people were being held for criminal offences at the station. The officer asked them to use the pepper spray on the man, subdue him and bring him to the station.
Where is the police? The police would like to think civilians with no police training whatsoever should perform the duties for which the same civilians pay taxes to ensure police offices get trained to perform.

Is it therefore a wonder that rather than send suspects to the police station, rather than wait for the police to obtain a vehicle and show up, rather than wait for the police who will rather engage in spirituality than do their job, rather than deal with a drunk police officer, rather than send a suspect to the police station who will only be released after no investigation, rather than have to transport a dangerous person to the police station, mobs would rather mete out instant justice?

In the case where I was attacked by a robber, after he was subjected to mob justice/injustice, his lifeless body was left in the middle of the road until the next morning when the police had it removed. The police also asked that I write a statement that morning and that was it. No investigation.
Is it a wonder mob justice/injustice keeps happening when the situation is not investigated, when the mob know they will go scot free?
Why mob justice/injustice? Where is the police?


  1. Blessings
    Police on an extended break or waiting for a pay off to spring into "ACTION"


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