Lindani Myeni’s family and friends want the truth about what happened on the night of his murder in Hawaii by police. Speculations that are linked to the police officers’ failure to identify themselves as law enforcement have now arisen, bringing to the table questions of a racist-spurred shooting.
The 29-year-old South African former KwaZulu-Natal rugby player, was shot and killed in Honolulu, Hawaii, last week.
Given the US’s socio-political climate, the incident of Myeni’s death is now being thought of in relation to the killings of George Floyd and Dante Wright in lieu of police brutality and murder.
What is alleged so far is as follows:
The Hawaii Police Department has stated that they were responding to an incident of “home burglary”, according to IOL.
The claim is that when they arrived a “scuffle ensued” between Myeni and the three police officers. Myeni allegedly injured the officers in the said scuffle. This resulted in one of the officers opening fire and shooting Myeni four times.
Officers did not state that they were law enforcement. Myeni’s family maintains that this was key in understanding why he could’ve reacted defensively, potentially thinking his own life was endangered. More than one family member has said that Myeni was not a violent person.
“If you point a flashlight and gun in someone’s eyes and tell them to get on the ground, the person will know you are not the police and that his life is in danger because the gunman did not say police. Fight or flight is inevitable,” said Nonhlanhla Myeni of her nephew, according to EWN.
Xaki Andile, Myeni’s uncle said that he had seen the video released by police, and questioned why they did not identify themselves, especially after his nephew had asked them, “Who are you?”.
“They were supposed to identify themselves. You can’t just point a gun at a person, in the dark,” Xaki said.
Considering the context, people are now drawing the incident back to the Black Lives Matter movement, racism-spurred reactions, and police brutality.
This is especially prevalent according to the family in lieu of allegations that Myeni was the only black person in the neighbourhood, according to Xaki.
“Myeni’s death comes as the US is dealing with several incidents of black, unarmed men dying at the hands of police,” IOL concluded.