Citizen’s arrest to no avail

2014-05-28 00:00

A YEAR and a half after an allegedly drunk policeman was locked in the back of his police van, the man who made the citizen’s arrest has still not been asked to give a statement or testify in court.

The embarrassing incident has now been plastered on the international 9gag website, viewed by millions of people.

The picture of the policeman locked in the back of his police van attracted over 250 comments.

In January 2013, Prestbury resident Russell George sprang into action when he saw the police van driving fast and recklessly.

He is yet to be asked to give a statement about the incident.

The policeman, who was believed to be off-duty, was driving a state vehicle and had allegedly also crashed into another car.

Concerned about the safety of other road users, George said when the policeman eventually stopped, he called 10111 but when no help had arrived, he asked the policeman to get out of the van.

“He looked at me and I could smell that he had been drinking. I asked him again, and he refused.

“I then grabbed his keys, pulled him out and locked him in the back of his own van,” George said.

George said the police van had been badly damaged, as if it had been involved in an accident.

The Witness quoted two witnesses at the time who believed the policeman was drunk.

It was alleged that before he was “arrested” by George, the officer had held up his girlfriend at gunpoint and been involved in an accident from which he fled.

The Witness quoted police saying the policeman had been taken into custody and would be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and investigated for reckless and negligent driving. An investigation into an assault was pending and the officer’s firearm had been taken away.

Captain Thulani Zwane said last week the case was taken to court for decision. “The member has been dealt with in terms of internal discipline. An attempt is being made to establish whether the person who arrested the policeman has been called by the investigating officer.”

George said, “My question is if this guy was off duty why was he joyriding in a state vehicle?... I was not looking for recognition for what I did, but just an acknowledgement from the police to say what I did was a good thing.”

Dr Johann Burger of the Institute for Security Studies said it was an absolute disgrace that a member of the police could behave like that in public.

“This is all the more reason why the police should be pursuing this. The police should be showing they will not tolerate such behaviour from their members.”

He said the first thing the police should have done was to take a statement from the person who made the arrest. “For almost a year and a half nothing has happened; this might lead one to believe the police are not interested in pursuing this.”

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