UPDATE: Police make U-turn, interdict officer caught ‘assaulting’ female motorist
A policewoman captured on tape allegedly harassing a female motorist on New Year day has been interdicted pending investigations.
In a turnaround move, Kericho County Police Commander James Mugera told journalists on Monday that the officer had been suspended indefinitely to allow police carry out investigations into the matter.
“An inquiry file has been opened to clearly establish the circumstances of the incident and our finding will be made public and appropriate action taken against anyone found to be on the wrong.
“Meanwhile, the concerned officer has been interdicted from duty to pave way for investigations,” read part of Mr Mugera’s statement.
Earlier in the day, the police boss had accused the motorist, who identified herself as Marie Obara on Twitter, of attempting to resist arrest leading to a physical confrontation with the police officer.
Mr Mugera had said a speed gun captured Ms Obara speeding on the Kericho-Chepseon stretch at one of the many police roadblocks along the highway.
A confrontation with the traffic policewoman ensued when the officer tried to explain to the motorist why she had to be placed under arrest.
This happened to me today. #PoliceBrutality pic.twitter.com/S5JNZzYZBU
— Marie (@marieobara) January 1, 2017
“When she was informed that she had been speeding, she disputed and in the process she demanded to be shown the video clip of her speeding. As she was waiting for that to happen, other passengers in the vehicle started arguing with the police officer,” said Mr Mugera.
“At that point, it became necessary to have the motorist arrested and escorted to the Kericho police station for further action. That is where the tussle began because the lady resisted arrest. This incident is unfortunate and I have personally ordered investigations,” he added.
According to Mr Mugera, all police officers who were on duty either as traffic officers or were positioned at speed checks on the material day had recorded statements to help with the investigations.
“I have contacted the female motorist who is in Kisumu and she is cooperating with us in our effort to find out what really happened. Within the shortest time possible, we will release the outcome of our investigation,” he said.
The 20-second video, which has irked Kenyans on social media after it was widely shared, shows an unidentified policewoman shoving and tugging hard at the woman who holds onto a vehicle in an effort to stop the officer.
The roadblock was erected between Brooke and Duka Moja trading centers, less than ten-minutes drive from the Kericho Police Station.
Ms Obara took to Twitter to claim that the policewoman handled her with excessive force after she demanded to see the speed gun report.
“Hebu niache. Niache please! (pleade leave me alone)” Ms Obara shouts in the dramatic video as they engage in a heated argument with the unidentified policewoman.
The police officer later leaves Ms Obara but asks her to move away from the vehicle so that it can be properly parked to stop obstructing other road users.
Someone else behind the camera can be heard in the video asking a fellow bystander to record the entire episode, while another woman reprimands the police officer for using excessive force.
“That is not the way, that is not the way,” says the woman in the video.
On her Twitter handle, Ms Obara denied flouting the speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour along the busy highway.