Cops corner woman at robot and punch her

2014-01-06 00:00

POLICE officers allegedly jumped out of their car to corner a female motorist and one of them punched her in the face — all because she failed to make way for them at a red robot in Pietermaritzburg.

Happy Plaatjies, who lives in Durban, alleges that on January 1 police officers in plain clothes were driving an unmarked white Ford Ranger on Moses Mabhida Road in the direction of town, when she was accosted.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that a case of assault had been opened against the men in plain clothes believed to be police officers. He said the vehicle in question was a police vehicle.

Recounting her story, Plaatjies said at the intersection of Moses Mabhida and Wigford Road, Mason’s Mill, the police were turning right, heading towards Richmond Road.

They allegedly flicked their vehicle lights at Plaatjies, who was ahead of them and going in the same direction, to get her to move out of the way.

When she failed to move, the officers allegedly overtook her on the left, moved back in front of her car and stopped.

“The robot was red and they stopped. Three doors of their vehicle flung open and three of them came out, the driver of the vehicle headed straight for me; I do not recall if he said anything to me, he just punched me in the face,” said Plaatjies.

She said one of the men was carrying a weapon.

Plaatjies — who had five children travelling with her in the car — said she was deeply shocked by the unfolding events.

“When they overtook and stopped in front of me, I made hand signs to show I could not move off the lane because I was turning in the same direction,” she said.

“And when they came for me, I was just in a daze, I did not know what to do or what they wanted. At some point I thought they were coming for my car … The way they opened the doors, I thought they were going to kill me,” she said.

She said the children in the car were screaming and when the man punched her, her 16-year-old cousin questioned how they could assault a woman.

“How could the police assault me?” she said, repeating the phrase several times.

“We suspected that it was the police, because the car they were driving was not a normal car,” she said.

Zwane said the police had overstepped the mark. “These are serious allegations against members of the SAPS and will have to be substantiated and thoroughly investigated,” she said.

“On completion of the investigation, the members responsible will be charged both criminally and departmentally.”

Attempts to speak to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) were unsuccessful yesterday.

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