Tue, 18 May 2021

  • The US embassy in SA says they are carefully following the investigation into the fatal police shooting of KZN-born Lindani Myeni.
  • He was shot and killed in Hawaii by police who were responding to a burglary call.
  • An international relations expert said that there could have been tensions between SA and the US had Donald Trump still been in power.

The United States embassy in Pretoria says they are monitoring the investigation surrounding the alleged killing of KwaZulu-Natal-born Lindani Myeni in Hawaii.

"This is a tragic incident, and we are carefully following the investigation by local Hawaiian authorities into the details of Mr Myeni's tragic death," said embassy spokesperson Robert Mearkle on Monday, in a short statement released to News24.

He said they were saddened by Myeni's death.

"The US Mission in South Africa expresses its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Lindani Myeni."

Hawaii police allegedly shot dead 29-year-old Myeni when they responded to a house burglary call.

Local media reported that Hawaii authorities had tried non-lethal force first before using live ammunition because the "suspect...was repeatedly punching" police officers.

Myeni is believed to have been unarmed.

Reltaions

University of KwaZulu-Natal politics, public policy, and international relations expert Zakhele Ndlovu told News24 that he did not believe this killing would have an impact on SA-US relations.

"Generally, [US] Democratic Party administrations have good relations with African governments. I think if Donald Trump was still in power, things would be a little tense. In terms of international relations, I don't see this escalating or creating any kind of tension between the countries."

READ | KZN rugby community, friends in disbelief after 'gentle' South African man killed by US police

He said that in South Africa killings by police were a norm but the country's racial make-up meant it did not always make headlines.

"In SA we hear (about) a lot of people getting killed by police, but not much noise is made about it because it is black cops killing black people. This whole thing about Black Lives Matter, it's a serious matter, but at the same time we have to keep in mind that when police kill citizens in SA it is not [always perceived as a] big deal because it is black on black."

Ndlovu said the US was currently highly racially charged, making Myeni's death an important speaking point.

"In the US you have whites who are in the majority and most police officers are white and most of their victims are black males, so it becomes a racially charged issue."

News24, over the weekend, reported that Myeni's attorney said the footage released by authorities showed no evidence to justify the fatal shooting.

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.

Source: News24

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