'If it were a white man, he wouldn't be dead' - Lindani Myeni's wife on US police shooting

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Lindani Myeni and his American wife Lindsay on their wedding day.
Lindani Myeni and his American wife Lindsay on their wedding day.
PHOTO: Facebook/Lindsay Myeni
  • The wife of slain South African Lindani Myeni has spoken out against Hawaii police, saying he had been killed because of his race.
  • Lindani was shot and killed during an altercation with police in the US, where he lived with his family.
  • His wife Lindsay said they were always fearful of US police.

"If it had been me, I wouldn't be dead."

This was the message from an emotional Lindsay Myeni, who released a heart-wrenching video after her husband Lindani Myeni was shot and killed in the US, saying he had been viewed as a threat because of his race and physical build.

"My worst nightmare has come true. We were always scared of cops in America regarding Lindani. People treated him like a weapon because he is strong, even just regular people. Just because you're strong, just because you have a fit body, means you're dangerous if you're a black person," said Lindsay.

The video, shared on Lindsay's YouTube account, shows her standing on a beach. Throughout the video, as she talks about her grieving, Lindsay is visibly upset, with her message punctuated with her sobbing.

The 29-year-old was reportedly killed during an altercation with police in Nuuanu, in Hawaii, a week ago. The shooting happened after officers responded to a call of a burglary in progress.

Honolulu police department chief Susan Ballard reportedly said three police officers initially tried non-lethal force, including a taser, before shooting and killing a man, who had repeatedly been punching the officers.

According to the report, he had walked into a house, sat down, took off his shoes and attempted to speak to the homeowners.

Lindsay said:

I'm sure he just wanted to have a conversation with these people. He was never afraid of anyone. And I loved that about him.

She added that she failed to understand why police had fired on an unarmed man, calling them cowards

"If three of you have guns, why are you afraid of one man with no weapon?" she asked. "He is unarmed. You're literally afraid of his arms. You're cowards."

She added that police would not have responded to someone of a different race in the same way.

'Things are starting to hit our little boy'

"I get to have bad days; I get to stop by the wrong house…I know if it were me, I wouldn't be dead. If it were a skinny man, he wouldn't be dead. If it were a white man, he wouldn't be dead. If it were an Asian woman, she wouldn't be dead. I know that wouldn't be the case; I'm positive," she said.

Lindsay added that their son, who is almost two, had started to notice his father's absence.

She said:

I think things might be starting to hit our little boy, who's one, almost two. I think he's starting to figure out something's wrong because he keeps looking around, but he doesn't see dad.

Myeni, from eSikhawini in northern KwaZulu-Natal, lived in Hawaii with American-born Lindsay, who he met in South Africa. The couple reportedly moved to the island at the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal government is working with Myeni's family to repatriate his remains to South Africa. A delegation from Premier Sihle Zikalala's office visited the Myeni family at their home in Empangeni on Wednesday.

"On behalf of the government and people of KwaZulu-Natal, we continue to express our sincere condolences to the Myeni family on Lindani's death. We wish his family and friends, both in Honolulu and in South Africa, strength and fortitude as they go through this tragic loss," said Zikalala.

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