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Woman slaps police with $10 000 lawsuit over shooting incident

By Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu

A BULAWAYO woman has dragged the police to court demanding $10 000 compensation after a Plumtree cop allegedly shot her on the leg while pursuing a vehicle which was suspected to be carrying smuggled goods.

Ms Constance Tshuma was a passenger in a Granvia vehicle whose driver ignored police orders to stop in November 2014.
Ms Constance Tshuma was a passenger in a Granvia vehicle whose driver ignored police orders to stop in November 2014.

Ms Constance Tshuma was a passenger in a Granvia vehicle whose driver ignored police orders to stop in November 2014.

Police officers allegedly opened fire on the car that was travelling along the Bulawayo-Plumtree, without first firing warning shots, according to the injured passenger.

Ms Tshuma told Plumtree magistrate, Mr Taurai Manwere yesterday that a bullet went through her right foot and pierced her left foot.

She said police officers did not fire any warning shots before aiming at the vehicle.

Ms Tshuma said she was demanding $10 000 as reimbursement for medical expenses and inconveniences caused by the incident.

“I was in a Granvia vehicle that was coming from Botswana going to Bulawayo when police fired a shot at the vehicle. A bullet hit my right leg, went through and hit my left foot.

“I was hospitalised for six weeks as a result of the incident and I even lost my job. The incident left me traumatised and scared. I am therefore demanding $10 000 as compensation,” said Ms Tshuma.

She said she was supposed to undergo further treatment for the injuries she sustained.

Ms Tshuma said on the day she was shot, the vehicle’s driver, Mr Mbonisi Mpofu was stopped by three cops who were manning a roadblock at the 98 kilometre peg along the Bulawayo-Plumtree Road.

She said the cops were looking for smuggled goods and they recovered pairs of shoes hidden under the car seats. She said they ordered the driver to go to the police station but he sped towards Bulawayo.

“Instead of making a u-turn the driver sped towards Bulawayo. The cops pursued us in a private car and they caught up with us at the 40 kilometre peg and they blocked the road.

“The driver was then forced to stop but to my amazement the cops fired at the vehicle. They told us to disembark but I couldn’t move and that is when I realised that a bullet had hit both my legs,” she said.

Ms Tshuma said she was first taken to Marula Clinic and was later transferred to Plumtree District Hospital from where she ended up being admitted to the United Bulawayo Hospitals.

Ms Tshuma, who is being represented by Mr Shepherd Chamunorwa said she can no longer wear closed shoes, kneel, squat or stand for a long time because of the injuries she sustained.

Representing the defendants who comprise the Officer in Charge of Plumtree Police Station, Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and the Minister of Home Affairs- Dr Ignatius Chombo, Chief Superintendent Ngavi from the Police Legal Services Department said the cops fired at the Granvia in self-defence.

“The driver was instructed to stop at the roadblock but he fled. When the cops caught up with him they tried to stop him but he directed the car to them with an intention to run over them. The cops were left with no option but to shoot at the vehicle.

“In fact they did not shoot at the body of the vehicle. They first fired warning shots and after realising that the driver wasn’t complying they shot and deflated a rear tyre,” he said.

Chief Supt Ngavi said Ms Tshuma might have been injured during the incident but not as a result of shots fired by the cops. He said police intercepted the vehicle as they were in pursuit of four murder suspects that were travelling in the Granvia.

The matter will continue before Mr Manwere on January 17. The Chronicle