‘I will take you out’

2012-12-11 00:00

WHAT should have been the opening of a routine accident docket turned into a wrestling match when a policeman tried to grab a phone off a man making a video because he wasn’t being assisted at an empty police station.

A video, seen by The Witness, shows the man being manhandled at the Richards Bay police station.

The video clip captures two policemen trying to grab the phone out of Rae Chivers’s hands. Later one says: “I will take you out”.

The matter has been reported to the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID) and a case of assault was registered at the Richards Bay police station on Wednesday last week.

At 5 am on Sunday, November 25, Chivers went to the Richards Bay police station to report an accident after he and a cyclist collided.

Chivers said there were three officers in the charge office.

“We stood around waiting to be assisted and asked a few times for help. When I received no response I decided to start recording.”

The video shows an officer at the counter talking to another man and two people seated behind the desk, one doing paperwork and the other on a computer.

“The man at the counter said he was busy, but it looked like a social call,” added Chivers.

Chivers, accompanied by cyclist Zack Patinios, who came to the station on behalf of the injured cyclist, who was in hospital, kept on asking for help.

“There was blatant racism. No one responded to us at all. No one cared. [They] didn’t even talk to us or ask why we were there.

“When I started videoing the constable, he told me to stop, but I didn’t and then he continued to talk to his colleague.

“We asked for the station commander and no one answered. We were then told to talk to a captain outside. First Zack went outside and then I followed and filmed from the entrance.

“The captain and another officer then approached me and told me to stop recording, and a scuffle broke out as they tried to grab my phone.

“They then demanded my phone and the memory card. I managed to get the phone in my pocket. They still tried to get at it,” said Chivers.

With the audio still being recorded, Chivers said the policeman stuck his finger in his face and said: “I will take you out”.

“Ironically after the incident, the constable behind the desk then decided to take our statement.”

Chivers said he asked the same constable, while still recording the audio, who the captain was and he replied “What captain?”.

Chivers repeated the question and added: “The one who tried to take my phone.”

He said the policeman denied seeing the incident.

Patinios said he can’t say for certain if the constable at the desk was busy with a serious matter, but said it didn’t look that way.

The video clearly shows the constable talking to another man and with no paperwork in front of him.

“The truth is it could have been dealt with differently. Everyone was tense. Like any organisation there are good and bad guys and I don’t know what the night shift could have been like. I eventually got a policeman who was very helpful. He came to the hospital to see the woman who was knocked over … and took a statement. Thankfully the cyclist wasn’t badly hurt,” said Patinios.

Richards Bay police spokesperson Captain Debbie Ferreira said the matter will be dealt with like all other assault cases.

“It will be taken to the National Prosecuting Authority and follow due process. I can’t confirm if it was a racial incident. Our members do work under extremely testing conditions, however, they must remain professional at all times.

“This case will be a high priority due to the sensitivity of an officer being implicated. I am of the opinion that there is nothing stopping a person from filming inside a police station if they believe there is wrongdoing.

“It is likely that this incident was the result of a shift change. There should always be sufficient members in the charge office to deal with all complaints,” said Ferreira.

The IPID was contacted for comment, but had not replied at the time of going to press.

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