In a case of police misconduct, Ntokozo Patrick Xulu, a resident of Berea, South Africa, was illegally locked up for two years after defending himself against a would-be robber.
This unjust incident has once again exposed the incompetence of the police force and the dire need for accountability and reform.
The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg recently ruled in favour of Xulu, ordering the police to pay him a staggering R2.6 million in compensation for the damages he suffered due to his wrongful arrest, detention, and prosecution.
Judge Irene de Vos, presiding over the case, emphasized that Xulu had been denied the protection one would expect from the police, leaving his life in ruins.
The unfortunate incident unfolded when Xulu found himself the target of an attempted robbery outside his home. A man named Rodriguez, who later turned out to be the would-be robber, confronted Xulu with the intent to harm him.
Acting in self-defence, Xulu made two unsuccessful attempts to fight off the assailant before resorting to using his legally owned firearm to protect himself.
Despite clearly acting in self-defence, Xulu’s pleas fell on deaf ears. From the beginning, he repeatedly told the police that he had no choice but to shoot Rodriguez to protect his own life.
Shockingly, the police not only failed to listen to Xulu but also conveniently omitted crucial information from the prosecution. They neglected to inform the prosecutor that Xulu had acted in self-defence, leading to his wrongful detention and prosecution.
Xulu’s harrowing experience during his two-year detention was nothing short of a nightmare. He was treated like a criminal despite being the victim of a crime. Throughout his trial, Xulu’s persistent refrain echoed the injustice he had endured: ‘I told them, but no one would listen to me. I was the victim, but they treated me like a criminal.’
The arresting officer’s testimony during the trial further highlighted the callousness and negligence of the police. He admitted that upon arriving at the crime scene, he had been informed by onlookers that the shooter had fled in a maroon car. Based on this information, the officer arrested Xulu, dismissing his self-defence claim as ‘fanciful.’
However, as the evidence unfolded, it became increasingly clear that Xulu’s actions were justified. The shooting had taken place just outside Xulu’s home, in a neighbourhood known for its high crime rates. Xulu, who had just returned from work, was suddenly attacked by two assailants. One of them threatened him with a knife, while the other, Rodriguez, approached his car window.
Trapped in his vehicle, Xulu had no means of escape and fired two warning shots in the air to deter the assailants. Despite his efforts, Rodriguez persisted and continued to pose a threat to Xulu’s life. Fearing for his safety, Xulu had no choice but to shoot Rodriguez in self-defence.
Judge De Vos weighed the evidence meticulously and delivered a verdict in favour of Xulu. She acknowledged the gravity of the situation and expressed her dismay at how the police had mishandled the case. The judgment not only provides Xulu with some form of justice but also serves as a wake-up call for the police force to rectify its shortcomings and ensure the protection of innocent citizens.