South African Cops shoots teenager multiple times

(South Africa News) — Neighbours had told the police the teenager was carrying an unlicensed gun; however, when Dobsonville police officers raided his house and found nothing on 16-year-old Thato Mokoka, he was shot – seven times in the head and upper body.

And his family had to watch him die.

Thato Mokoka. Photo: Supplied

When he was shot, Thato was lying on his stomach outside his grandmother’s home in Bramfischerville Phase 2. His arms were in the surrender position above his head.

No unlicensed firearm was found.

The police’s Independent Complaints Directorate is investigating the Grade 9 Kgatelopele Secondary School pupil’s death as a result of police action.

His family can’t believe their child has been killed.

“Just before they shot him as he was lying on the ground, the last thing he told me was ‘Mammie, I don’t know nothing about this. I didn’t do anything’,” said his grandmother Sybil Mokoka.

Then, as she and her daughter looked on, Thato’s brains were scattered across their yard.

“There were many shots. They went off quickly one after each other, like da da da da da da da,” said Sybil.

“It’s so unfair what they did. That they shot him in front of us like that. They must be punished. Not to my baby. It’s so sad. He did not even have an ID yet.”

Thato lived alone in the shack behind his grandmother’s house.

Sybil was in her house with her daughter Mpumi and 10-month-old granddaughter Katlego on Tuesday night when police banged on her front door.

When she opened the door, six officers stormed into her house, pointing firearms in her and her daughter’s faces, demanding to see Thato, she said.

When they couldn’t find Thato in the house, they went to the shack behind her house.

“They kicked down the door and went in shouting ‘Where’s Thato?’, ‘Where’s the gun?” recalled Sybil on Wednesday night.

Thato was inside the shack with two girls at the time.

“They beat him up and then brought him out to lie at the door.”

As Thato lay on the ground, one officer stood on Thato’s neck with his boot and another allegedly went back into the shack to assault the girls who were in the shack.

That is when, according to Sybil, another officer, who had a gun slung over his shoulder, approached Thato.

Two boys and two women, who live near the Mokokas, were with the police.

“He (the officer) said to him, ‘These boys say you have a gun’. Thato denied it. But one boy said Thato’s friend had a gun. Then the other boy said Thato had the gun. The ladies agreed with him. But Thato denied it. Then the police shot him.”

“We picked up seven cartridges outside. We gave them to the police for the forensics.”

Sybil said she had raised Thato and considered him her son. He was not a problem child, and her only concern was that he smoked and like girls.

“He has never been in trouble with the police. No one has ever come here complaining. He did not have a gun. If he did have one, I would have known because I always go into his room.”

But Jabulani police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela denied Sybil’s allegation that several officers had stormed her house, saying there were only two on sector patrol who had attended the house.

The firearm was discharged as the officers were waiting outside the house for back-up to arrive. “The gun was in the officer’s hand and five bullets discharged from it. The boy was hit in the upper body. It is not clear how the gun was discharged.”

Makhubela said the two officers who had initially attended the scene were a warrant officer and a constable.

Independent Complaints Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini confirmed they were investigating a case of death as a result of police action.

Thato’s funeral will be held on Sunday. The family is still finalising arrangements.


Source: The Star

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