Cops fired for murder

2011-08-08 00:00

TWO police officers from Nottingham Road police station were fired after they were found guilty of torturing a suspect to death while in police custody.

Warrant Officers Elphas Buthelezi and Jabulani Mchunu were fired after they were found guilty of beating Bhekuyise Mtolo to death in the station’s holding cell in March last year.

Mtolo was a suspect in a housebreaking and theft case.

A third officer involved in the torture, Constable Scelo Lethela, opted to resign before the finalisation of the disciplinary hearing.

However, he is not off the hook as the three were charged with murder after an investigation was launched by the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD).

The Witness was tipped off about the dismissals by sources within the station. The sources wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

It was reported last year that Mtolo and another suspect were severely beaten during their interrogation. Mtolo suffered the more serious injuries.

He was taken to a nearby clinic with abdominal pain and was vomiting blood and struggled to urinate.

The clinic staff could not cope with Mtolo’s injuries and he was transferred to Northdale Hospital where he died.

Prisoner abuse is a common occurrence at the station, said a source, adding that another suspect died recently after his interrogators took a pair of pliers to his testicles while questioning him about a case of housebreaking and theft.

Said the source, “There’s too much cover-up at the station and if you try to complain you might find yourself out of the station. They still torture suspects as in the old regime and this is wrong.

“How do you begin to complain about the wrongdoing if your superiors turn a blind eye to the wrongdoings of certain staff members? The recent suspect to die apparently had his testicles pulled by a pliers. He succumbed to injuries and died in the police cells, although it was reported that he died in hospital.”

Earlier that night, he added, the police had driven to the College Road bridge where they dangled the suspect by his legs demanding that he confess to theft and housebreaking.

Police spokesperson Captain Lolly Moodley confirmed the dismissals and said it had been over a month since the two were fired.

“The committee of the disciplinary hearing found them guilty so they were fired. I cannot comment on the recent allegation of torture as I have not been informed about it.”

The ICD also confirmed the dismissals of the two officers.

The directorate’s national spokesperson, Moses Dlamini, said the two officers and Lethela have been charged with the murder of Mtolo.

The three are to appear in Howick Magistrate’s Court on October 11.

 

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