DURBAN - THE family of former Esikhaleni rugby player Lindani Myeni, 29, who was shot by police in a suspected robbery in Hawaii, have described his death as yet another case of racial discrimination against black people in the US.
The family believe Myeni was targeted, and do not believe the police, who claimed he was violent and they had fought for their lives.
His death has left the country, his friends and family in shock.
According to the Honolulu police department’s Allan Nagata, the incident happened after police responded to a burglary. On arrival, a scuffle ensued and Myeni was shot four times.
Bodycam footage released by the Honolulu police shows officers failed to identify themselves when they approached Myeni.
They are heard shouting “police” after shots were fired.
Myeni’s American wife Lindsay, in one of her Facebook posts on Sunday, warned that South Africa would “not let this go”. “You killed their prince. May you never assume another black man is a criminal and murder him on the way home,” she said.
Lindsay had posted messages calling for police to release the bodycam footage so that people could see what really happened.
She posted: ”They shot my king. I was with him at 7.30. He went for a drive to clear his mind after a fun family day. I called him and he said he was on his way home at 7.52. By 8.10 cops had shot him four times. How can you justify that? What happened in 18 minutes? What do I tell my babies when they cry for him?”
Myeni’s uncle, Andile Myeni, said the family received a call hours after the fatal shooting and could not believe it. “The man described by the US police is nothing like the Lindani we knew. He was not a violent man and definitely not a criminal. He loved his family very much,” he said.
They were convinced that he was shot because he was a black man.
Myeni relocated to Hawaii with his wife, a real estate agent, earlier this year after her visa expired.
According to his family, Myeni had left his job as a mechanical engineer at a Richards Bay-based company to relocate with his wife, who was pregnant with their second child.
A few months later, the couple wrote a letter to inform their family in South Africa about their stay in the US.
Myeni’s grandmother, Ntombi Xaba, said that in the letter the couple said racism was rife in the US and it was not easy for Myeni to be married to a white woman, and his neighbours did not like him. “He was killed five houses from where he lives and they (neighbours) see him every day. We are certain that he was killed because he is black.”
Lindsay posted: “I will never find a perfect love like him. Why were three trained officers afraid of one unarmed man? They just left me a widow at 29 with two babies in diapers.”