Police brutality impressed him to turn out to be a lawyer

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Police brutality inspired him to become a lawyer

By STELLA CHERONO

December 15, 2002 started like any other day in Nyahururu, and business was at its peak as locals prepared for Christmas.

Around 7pm, David Makara saw a police officer dragging one of his friends by the collar. He asked Makara if he knew him.

Makara did not know the crime his friend had committed.

“The policeman asked me to give him money, but I only had Sh70. I also did not know why he wanted the cash,” Makara says.

The officer bundled Makara and his friend into a van. Before they alighted at the station, he surrendered the Sh70 to the officer.

“I heard gunshots as soon as we left the vehicle. A bullet entered my right arm just below the elbow while another hit me above the right hip,” he says, adding that a third missed him narrowly.

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Officers arrested

Makara later learnt that the officer and his colleagues had run out of cash when drinking. The others told him to raise money by harassing locals.

“I fell. My hand was numb and bleeding profusely. I then started feeling pain,” he says.

Makara managed to run towards Nyahururu Hospital, opposite the police station.

“I was admitted to the hospital, but police officers later came and said I was a murder suspect, adding that they opened fire when I resisted arrest. They wanted to take me into custody, but the medical staff refused to let that happen,” he says, adding, his wounded hand was amputated.

Cuffed to bed

“Two days later, the officers arrived and cuffed me to the bed. I was in physical and mental pain. They had made me lose my hand and here they were accusing me of things I had not even thought of doing” he says.

Members of his church and the International Justice Mission (IJM) went to hospital to intervene.

Angry Nyahururu locals held a march against the police. During the demo, nine were arrested.

Makara remained at the hospital for a month before police went for him. He was arraigned for robbery with violence in January 2003.

IJM assigned him a lawyer, Victor Kamau.

Acquitted

The court acquitted Makara and the officers who shot him were arrested. He received Sh500,000 in damages.

“I had doubts about winning the case, but later came to learn that Kamau, who is blind, is one of the best lawyers in the country,” he says.

Kamau’s professionalism motivated Makara and he swore to become a lawyer.

“I enrolled for a law degree at the Pentecostal University Uganda with the assistance of Fr Gabriel Titinato,” he says.

Makara says he graduated in 2013.

Two years later, he enrolled for a post-graduate diploma at the Kenya School of Law, graduated in 2017 and was admitted to the Bar.

The father of four practises in Nyahururu where he represents victims of violence.

He also chairs the Global Survivors Network Kenya Chapter, an organisation of victims of police brutality.

(email protected)