KISIMU, 25 March 2021 – Enforcement officers in Kenya’s western Kisumu county have been suspended after being filmed on Wednesday dragging a lady fruit vendor along the road.
The woman, whose names journalists got as Beatrice Magolo Atieno, 39, explained that one of the officers seated at the back of the pick-up truck held her hand and refused to let her go as the vehicle drove off.
A mob of infuriated citizens gave chase as the pick-up drove to a nearby police station where the woman was supposedly booked.
Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o said he has suspended from duty all the county enforcement officers involved in the incident until investigations are concluded.
Eyewitnesses told journalists that the officials allegedly demanded a bribe from the vendor who was selling oranges on the pavement.
It is only after the woman refused to pay the bribe that she got the inhumane treatment.
A viral video posted on social media shows the woman hanging on for dear life as the pick-up drives down a street, her lower limbs dragging along on the hard tarmac.
Motorbike taxi drivers (bodaboda operators) are seen in the video chasing the pickup and hooting in protest, as bystanders and eyewitnesses sigh and scream in horror.
The pick-up drove down the street about 300 meters in all before the Kisumu County enforcement vehicle came to a stop at the gates of the Kisimu Central Police Staton.
The video shows Beatrice Magolo Atieno ripped skirt and inner garments, and news reports said her left side and hips were bruised.
The enforcement officers, known as County Askaris, frog-marched the vendor to the report desk at the police station, asking the officers to book her in for flouting County by-laws that prohibit hawking on specified streets.
“The officers declined to book me in, asking me to go and seek treatment, while my son was booked into the cells,” said Beatrice Magolo Atieno as she left the police station.
Police at the station fired tear gas to disperse the angry crowd that gathered, chanting their disapproval of the action of the police officers.