A police officer who assaulted an accused person in police cells is now pleading for mercy after human rights lawyers moved to garnish his salary from his bank account.

The police officer, who has been identified as only Officer Chafunga of St. Mary’s Police Station in Chitungwiza, is now pleading with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human rights (ZLHR) not to have his account garnished.

This was after the court awarded $400 000 damages against him for assaulting a Chitungwiza resident for allegedly violating curfew regulations during the Covid lockdowns.

Speaking on the issue, human rights lawyer Obey Shava posted,

“Officer Chafunga of St. Mary’s police will curse the day he raised a button stick against an accused in police cells. The court awarded $400 000 damages against him. His lawyers have been pleading with @ZLHRLawyers not to have his account garnished. “#StopPolicebrutality.”

In a more detailed post, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights posted,

“When cornered to account for its officers’ misdemeanours, @PoliceZimbabwe usually “sobers up” & they are currently pleading with us to stop processes meant to garnish money from the monthly salary of a police officer as a form of punishment for his misdemeanours after he severely assaulted a Chitungwiza resident, for allegedly violating curfew regulations.

“Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of @ZLHRLawyers in 2022 wrote a letter to ZRP CG Godwin Matanga notifying him of his intention to apply in court for a garnishee order against a ZRP officer only identified as Chafunga & who is stationed at St Marys Police Station in Chitungwiza.

“Chinopfukutwa wants the court to order the Salary Services Bureau, which processes govt employees’ salaries, to garnish & deduct money from the monthly salary of Chafunga & to be channelled to offset a debt which he owes to Ednock Dube, a Chitungwiza resident.

“Chafunga, together with Matanga & Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Hon. @KazembeKazembe3 were on 16 September 2022, ordered by Chitungwiza Magistrate Sheunesu Matova to pay ZWL400 000 in damages to Dube after holding them liable for the violation of the Chitungwiza resident’s fundamental rights.

“The 46-year-old Dube sued Chafunga, Matanga & Kazembe in April 2021 for compensation for pain & suffering & embarrassment & humiliation after he was subjected to unlawful assault, torture & inhumane & degrading treatment at the hands of some ZRP officers who included Chafunga.

“Dube had been arrested by ZRP officers on 25 February 2021 while on his way home from work for allegedly violating the curfew regulations imposed by govt in 2020 in a bid to stop the unnecessary movement of people & to curb the spread of coronavirus.

He was taken to St Mary’s Police Station, where he was detained in the police cells while Chafunga handcuffed him to a pole & assaulted him with a truncheon on his head & hands.

“As a result of the assault, Dube ended up nursing a fractured finger & sustained injuries to his eye & thereby limiting his eyesight.

“He was then assisted by Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR & successfully sued Hon. Kazembe, Matanga and Chafunga for damages at Chitungwiza Civil Magistrates Court.

“Now, in a letter addressed to Chinopfukutwa, a ZRP legal officer only identified at E Hunyanyiwa, recently begged Dube to halt filing of an application in court to obtain a garnish order authorising the SSB to deduct money from Chafunga’s salary to satisfy payment of an outstanding debt emanating from the misdemeanours of the law enforcement agent.

“Hunyanyiwa assured Chinopfukutwa that ZRP has initiated processes, which should lead to the full & final settlement of the ZWL400 000 debt & is currently awaiting to obtain ‘Treasury concurrence’ from @ZimTreasury, which should bring the matter to finality.”

iHarare News