Bodycam footage shows moment Zulu 'prince' is shot dead by cops
Bodycam footage shows moment ‘gentle Zulu prince’, 29, who once appeared on South Africa Idol is shot dead by cops after entering random home in Honolulu, taking his shoes off and acting ‘odd’
- Lindani Myeni, a married father-of-two from the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa, was shot and killed Wednesday evening by Honolulu Police officers
- The shooting took place during an apparent home invasion incident in Nuuanu
- Police said the black man, who lived nearby, had followed a woman into her home, took off his shoes and exhibited ‘odd’ behavior
- The cops fired four shots at Myeni and he was taken to hospital where he died
- Myeni’s family say his actions may have been the result of cultural differences
- His American wife Lindsay said in the Zulu Kingdom it is customary to go into ‘anyone’s home’ and taking off his shoes was a mark of respect
Police bodycam footage shows the moment a Zulu ‘prince’ who once appeared on South Africa Idol was shot dead by cops during burglary call at a Hawaii home.
Lindani Myeni, a married father-of-two from South Africa, was killed Wednesday evening by Honolulu police officers in the Nuuanu neighborhood.
Officials have released clips from two of the three bodycams worn by cops from the night of the incident; a third was not activated during the struggle.
The clips released show three gunshots rang out before an officer says, ‘police.’
Police had said Myeni, who is black, ‘charged’ at two officers with a third cop arriving and deploying their taser before gun shots were fired.
Acting Deputy Chief Allan Nagata acknowledged police did not initially identify themselves but said: ‘They were in the fight for their lives. They were very brave. They didn’t shoot or discharge the firearm right away. This was not a case of overreaction.’
‘They didn’t identify themselves, but hey, let’s be honest. They’re in uniform, right? They’re coming there with the police cars. Although it is dark, it’s pretty clear.’
Myeni had assaulted the officers, punching one of them until the officer briefly lost consciousness, Nagata said.
He had entered a home, sat down and took off his shoes, prompting the scared occupants to dial the police, Chief Susan Ballard said Thursday.
Honolulu police body camera footage released Friday of a man’s fatal shooting shows three gunshots rang out before an officer says, ‘police.’ Police released two brief clips from the shooting that killed Lindani Myeni, 29, Honolulu on Wednesday night
Myeni had entered a home, sat down and took off his shoes, prompting the scared occupants to dial the police, Chief Susan Ballard said Thursday. The officer yells repeatedly for Myeni to get on the ground. Shots ring out and then after a pause, an officer said, ‘police.’
A Zulu ‘prince’, 29, who once appeared on South Africa Idol has been shot dead by cops in Hawaii after he allegedly charged at officers who were responding to a 911 call claiming he had followed a woman into her home. Lindani Myeni with his wife and two children
Lindani Myeni, a married father-of-two from the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa, was shot and killed Wednesday evening by Honolulu Police officers. Pictured in his South Africa Idol audition
But Myeni’s American wife has described her husband as ‘gentle’ said he was not a violent person. She has suggested his actions may have been the result of cultural differences after he moved to Hawaii in January.
And his attorney Jim Bickerton said: ‘Fight or flight is inevitable in that situation.
‘All of us are required to obey the lawful order of a police officer. But we’re not required to obey just the random order of people shouting at us to get on the ground when they’re waving a gun.’
Myeni’s death comes one week after Honolulu Police officers shot and killed 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap during a car chase on April 5. Both males killed in the officer-involved shootings are thought to have been unarmed at the time.
The first clip – which is badly lit – begins with a woman crying and telling an officer: ‘That’s him.’
Myeni, who did not have criminal history, is then seen in the driveway of the home. An officer tells him: ‘Get on the ground now.’
After Myeni walks towards the cop a struggle ensues with the officer filming the altercation appearing to be knocked to the floor.
A second clip from a third officer on the scene shows Myeni engages in a struggle with the two other officers.
That third officer deploys his taser before a shot is fired. Three more then follow.
Towards the end of the video an officer then yells ‘police.’
Officers had been responding to a 911 call at around 8:10pm Wednesday claiming he had followed a woman into her home, took off his shoes and exhibited ‘odd’ behavior.
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard had said the officers’ ‘lives were in jeopardy’, before shots were fired. One cop was hospitalized with major facial injuries and concussion following the incident while the other two also sustained injuries.
Ballard said in a press conference Thursday that Myeni appears to have arrived at the property by car before allegedly following the woman into her home.
Once inside, he then sat down and took off his shoes, and was trying to talk to the homeowners, she said.
‘From what we can gather at this time, he walked into the house, kind of erratic and odd behavior, ‘ Ballard said.
‘He sat down, took off his shoes and was trying to talk to the people, but they were very upset and trying to get him out, and he eventually walked out.
‘They didn’t know who he was and were trying to talk to him. The homeowners were very shook up and upset.’
Myeni (pictured with his wife) then allegedly assaulted the three police officers who arrived on the scene with the police chief saying their ‘lives were in jeopardy’, before the cops fired four shots at him
Ballard said the taser was ineffective in subduing Myeni, who then charged at the third officer and punched him.
Myeni then allegedly ran back at the first officer who fired a single gunshot at him.
Ballard said the shot did not stop the Myeni, who tackled the officer to the ground, straddling him and punching him repeatedly.
At this point, the second cop fired three rounds at Myeni, who fell to the ground, police said.
‘This all happened in less than one minute from officer one’s arrival,’ Ballard said.
Myeni was taken to The Queen’s Medical Center in critical condition where he later died from his injuries.
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said in a press conference Thursday that one cop was hospitalized with major facial injuries and concussion following the incident while the other two also sustained injuries
Police are seen at the crime scene in the Nuuanu neighborhood in Hawaii Wednesday night
Ballard insisted the black man’s killing was ‘nothing to do with race’ but insisted that the officers’ lives were ‘in jeopardy.’
‘I think what we need to remember is it had nothing to do with race. It had to do with behavior and the fact that this person seriously injured the officers and their lives were in jeopardy,’ Ballard said.
This comes as protests have erupted this week over the killing of 20-year-old black man Daunte Wright by a white female cop in Minneapolis – just 10 miles from the courthouse where another white cop Derek Chauvin is being tried for George Floyd’s murder.
The three officers involved in Myeni’s death have not been identified and their races, ages and genders are not known. They were all veteran cops with 23, 18 and 10 years of service.
Myeni’s family has cast doubts on the police’s version of events, with his American wife Lindsay (pictured together) saying he was not a violent person
She suggested his actions may have been the result of cultural differences after he moved to Hawaii in January. Lindsay said in the Zulu Kingdom it is customary to go into ‘anyone’s home’ and taking off his shoes was a mark of respect
The identities of the homeowners have also not been revealed but both the police chief and Myeni’s wife said the 29-year-old did not know them prior to the incident.
‘They didn’t know who he was,’ said Ballard.
It is not clear if Myeni acted aggressively toward the homeowners or whether he was under the influence at the time with Ballard saying investigators were still looking into the incident. He had no prior criminal history.
Myeni’s wife Lindsay Myeni, who was born in the US but met her husband while she was on missionary work in South Africa, told Hawaii News Now she does not know what led him to visit the home.
However, she dismissed the claims it was a burglary, describing him as the ‘most gentle person’ and suggesting different cultural norms may have meant his actions were misunderstood by the residents.
Myeni is from the Zulu Kingdom where it is customary for people to visit ‘anyone’s house’, she told the outlet.
‘In Zulu culture you can go to anyone’s house. You can knock on anyone’s door. It doesn’t matter if it’s 8 o’clock it’s not a big deal. Neighbor are neighbors,’ she said.
Lindsay added that the police account that he took off his shoes shows he believed he was showing the homeowners respect.
‘It says he took off his shoes. I’m sure he did that as a sign of respect,’ she told the outlet.
Lindsay said her husband had been on his way home to the house they shared with their two children just down the street from the now-crime scene.
He had been at the Pali Lookout earlier that day and seemed his usual self, she said, adding she had spoken to him less than 20 minutes before the incident unfolded.
The Economic Freedom Fighters Kwazulu-Natal released a statement on social media condemning Myeni’s ‘murder’
‘He was on his way home. So for whatever reason, he stopped to talk to this neighbor – that literally is down the street from us,’ she said.
‘I don’t know why he stopped at those people’s house,’ she said, adding that they didn’t know each other.
She insisted he ‘wouldn’t burglarize’ saying: ‘We have money. We have everything we need. We’re not looking for anything. He wanted to talk to them for some reason.’
Lindsay told the outlet she could not understand what had happened as he is the ‘most gentle person… and the best father.’
She added: ‘We’ve got two babies under 2. I’ve got to go to sleep every night without him.’
Myeni appeared on Idols (South Africa) in 2013 and was the nephew of a rural king’s village in the Zulu Kingdom, meaning he has the rank of a prince.
He also used to play rugby for KZN club in Durban.
Myeni and his wife met six years ago when she was on a Christian mission in the country.
They lived in South Africa for three years before moving to the US and then relocating to Hawaii in January.
His death comes one week after Honolulu Police officers shot and killed 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap (pictured) during a car chase on April 5
Myeni was supposed to have his green card interview next week, his wife said.
‘We dated, got engaged and got married before he ever came to America,’ Lindsay told Hawaii News Now.
‘He never wanted to come to America. It was never anything he was interested in. He loves his people. He is from the Zulu tribe. They speak Zulu.’
She added: ‘We thought here we would be safe. What am I going to tell his family back home? They trusted me to keep him safe here. What am I going to tell my son?’
The Economic Freedom Fighters Kwazulu-Natal, a far-left political party, released a statement on social media condemning Myeni’s ‘murder’.
‘The Economic Freedom Fighters Kwazulu-Natal notes with outrage the senseless killing of Richards Bay’s Esikhaleni resident Mr Lindani Myeni (29) who was shot to death by three white US police officers outside his residence in Nuuanu in Hawaii on Wednesday night,’ it read.
The race of the officers has not been revealed.
The statement went on to accuse the US of ‘covert racism on Black people by continuously stereotyping them as possessing criminal elements, as the report alleges that there was a suspiciously looking man who was sitting in the car.’
Myeni’s death comes just one week after Sykap, a 16-year-old from the U.S. territory of Guam, was shot dead by Honolulu police officers on April 5.
Sykap died from multiple gunshot wounds following a police chase that started on the East side of O’ahu and ended near Kalakaua Avenue.
Six people were in the car, with two of them shot by officers in the incident.
These officer-involved shootings come as the nation is reeling from multiple other police killings of predominantly black men across the US. Daunte Wright left and Adam Toledo right
Sykap was taken to a hospital where he died while the other person shot – a 14-year-old boy – survived.
Police said the car was involved in an armed robbery just 20 minutes prior to the shooting.
Bodycam footage has not been released in this case either with Ballard saying Thursday that officials have to be careful about releasing it because Sykap and some of his passengers in the car are juveniles.
There are over 50 body-worn cameras that have to be reviewed in that case, she said.
These officer-involved shootings come as the nation is reeling from multiple other police killings of predominantly black men across the US.
In Minnesota, a white female cop shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black father-of-one, on Sunday during a traffic stop after she allegedly confused her gun for a taser.
This sparked renewed protests in the state where tensions are already running high amid Chauvin’s trial for the murder of black man Floyd.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, bodycam footage was released of the moment 13-year-old boy Adam Toledo was shot dead by a Chicago cop during a foot chase on March 29.
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