Lindani Myeni killing: Bodycam video shows no justification for SA man's fatal shooting - lawyer

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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 lawyer of Lindani Myeni, who was killed in Honolulu, says bodycam video shows no justification for shooting him.
  • Myeni's family has started an online fundraiser for his repatriation.
  • He was married to a US citizen and they have two children.

The attorney of a South African man shot and killed by police officers in Honolulu, Hawaii, says the video released by authorities show no evidence to justify the fatal shooting.

Hawaii police shot and killed 29-year-old Lindani Myeni multiple times when they responded to a house burglary call.

The Myeni family lawyer, Luke Korkowski, told News24 his death was "the result of poorly trained or aggressive police officers escalating a situation needlessly".

Korkowski said Myeni, a former rugby player, had no way of knowing the men approaching him were police officers.

He said: 

As you've likely seen on the camera footage released, Mr Myeni was calmly standing outside a home in conversation with someone we think was a police officer. An officer identified as 'Officer 1' rounds a corner, fails to announce himself or his intentions, orders Mr Myeni to the ground, and approaches him quickly while blinding him with a flashlight on a dark night.

"One can only imagine how this must have felt to Mr Myeni. He must have felt he was under attack after what appears to have been a misunderstanding with someone staying at the house seen in the video."

Bodycam footage

In the bodycam footage, which the Honolulu Police Department released, the first officer on the scene sees a woman crying hysterically and pointing at someone. She tells the officers the man is stealing a car.

The officers did not identify themselves when they approached Myeni. They pointed a gun at him and ordered him to get on the ground. A fight ensues, and Myeni is tasered several times before he is shot.

Honolulu police have defended their actions, saying the officers were defending themselves against a violent suspect.

Korkowski said the family was "devastated by this unnecessary and inappropriately deployed use of force by the Honolulu Police Department".

Fundraiser for repatriation

Myeni was married to American citizen Lindsay Myeni. They have two children.

His wife, Lindsay, said in a Facebook post that the family wanted him buried in KwaZulu-Natal.

Korkowski said Lindsay was being cared for by friends and family before repatriating Myeni's remains to South Africa.

The family has organised an online fundraiser to help with the repatriation costs. So far, R88 126 ($6 157) has been raised. The goal is to raise about R1.5 million ($100 000).

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said the department would assist the family with consular services if asked. "We have been made aware of the incident and have asked the mission in LA to write a report."

Korkowski said: "Lindani was a good and kind man who dearly loved his wife, his children and his people in South Africa. Lindani loved his homeland. He deserves to rest with his ancestors."

"He is a prince in title and in the hearts of all who knew him. We can only hope with this tragedy, and so many other tragedies like it, can serve as turning points in our relations with each other."

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