A tuk tuk operator caught on camera on Sunday fighting two police officers claims the law enforcers had destroyed his auto rickshaw’s windscreen and side mirrors. Speaking to The Standard yesterday at his hideout, the tuk tuk owner said even after one of the officers used a club to smash his side mirror and windscreen, they attempted to beat him up and he had to defend himself.
In the 42 seconds video, which went viral, the man is seen hurling stones at unarmed traffic police officers and at some point dragging one on the road. Continued assault He then retreats and after a while is seen driving back, then exiting his tuk tuk to continue his assault on the officers. Drama continues, with the officers picking stones and hurling them at the tuk tuk, even as the driver tries to flee the scene. The man who sought anonymity for fear of being victimised, said he was on his way to Nakuru town with three passengers on board when the incident happened.
The two officers, he said, had stopped two other tuk tuks and were collecting money. When they saw him, he said, they flagged him down. “The officers had stopped two other tuk tuks and I could see them receive money. They saw me approach and one signaled me to stop,” he said. He says he had just slowed down and wanted to stop when one of the officers hit his side mirror and smashed the windscreen. He said after stopping, he asked the officer why he had smashed his side mirror but the officer kept mum.
“I asked for the second time why the officer smashed my side mirror but the officer could not explain,” he said. He could not bear the pain of having his tut tuk’s side mirror and windscreen smashed and he turned to the officers who were now calling for a towing car to drag his machine away. “I got annoyed and demanded to be given answers, as they tried to intimidate me, saying there was nothing I could do to them,” the man said.
He said he engaged the officers in a scuffle and had to fight for his rights and dignity when the officers started pulling his tuk tuk as if to make it fall to the ground. “I decided enough was enough and had to fight what I believed to be unjust and unfair cops who were intimidating me because they were in Government uniform. We exchanged blows and after I overpowered them, they picked stones and hurled at me. I had to get into my tuk tuk and try to confuse them by changing direction,” he said.
The man said he had been surviving on the tuk tuk business, whose proceeds he used to feed his family and educate his siblings. He said the prospect of being out of his source of his daily bread because of the policemen was too painful to fathom. “I completely lost my mind because of the injustice, which was being meted on me by police officers whose interest was the bribe,” he said.
The man had bruises on his neck and the right arm, which he said he suffered in the scuffle. He said people advised him to report the matter, but he feared he might be arrested and locked in the cells. He chose to hide. The father of one says he remains in hiding, as he feels no justice will be done to him. “A police officer is just a police officer. However wrong they were, they will always find a way to fix the case to favour them,” he said.
He says the two officers should also be investigated and claims his life is in danger as reports reaching him are that a team of officers from the flying squad and Directorate of Criminal Investigations was trailing him.
The Director of Public Prosecution, in a twitter post yesterday, said action should be taken against the tuk tuk. However, boda boda riders and motorists said the man did the right thing to teach the officers a lesson.