Police brutality case: Witness narrates ordeal

Two of the six police officers who are being accused of allegedly brutally assaulting two Cowdray Park women have been identified as the main perpetrators of the assault by a State witness.

Ntombizodwa Mpofu, one of the victims, testified before the court, Monday, that Simbarashe Bvekwa (26) and Tichaona Zariro (34) are the ones who took turns to assault and insult them.

The two aforementioned officers, together with Patson Gumoreyi (30) Elizabeth Denhere (41), Zibusiso Masuku (27) and Christabel Munyondo, (28) are each facing two counts of assault.

The six had all initially engaged legal services of Maclean Mahaso and Nkosiyabo Sibanda of Tanaka Law Chambers who later ‘dumped’ them mid-trial citing fears of contracting Covid-19.

The lawyers had stated that the court was not fully adhering to Covid-19 regulations as stipulated by the world health organisation thus risking the health welfare of all people who were involved in the prosecution of the matter.

Bvekwa and Zariro have since sought the services of Tinashe Dzipe from Morris Davis and Company, while Denhere, Masuku and Munyondo are now being represented by Gary Sengweni of Sengweni Legal Practice.

Gumoreyi has no legal representative.

While testifying, Mpofu broke down in tears as she re-lived her ordeal on the fateful day.

She singled out Bvekwa and Zariro as the people who assaulted her and her sister although the other four cops were also present when the offense was committed.

“Bvekwa and Zariro are the ones who assaulted us. They took turns as they hit us with their batons. Bvekwa is the one who hurled insults at us the whole time as he called us witches, prostitutes and spoke ill of us because we are Ndebele. As he was hitting me for the first time he damaged my cellphone, then I confronted him about it but he said he was used to damaging more expensive phones so I should not bother him with my cheap gadget,” testified Mpofu.

“The other officers never laid a hand on us. The two female cops actually sympathised with us and warned us not to sit down when Bvekwa ordered us to as he would take that opportunity to beat us.”

Western Commonage Magistrate Gladmore Mushowe postponed the matter to Wednesday, August 26 for continuation of trial.

For the State, Kenneth Shava told the court that on the fateful day, the two women met the police officers whom they told they were coming from the butchery to buy meat.

Shava said the cops then grabbed the women by the hands and hit them with a baton several times on their buttocks.

“During the process, Ntombizodwa’s cellphone, which was in her back pocket got damaged. She then approached the accused persons to tell them that they had damaged her phone.”

He said the accused persons went on further to take turns to assault the two women on their buttocks and hips several times, insulting them with obscenities and degrading them over their tribal affiliations and were released the following day after paying a fine of ZWL$200 each.

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