Ipid to probe fatal dragging

2013-03-01 00:00

THE Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) yesterday started investigating the death of Mido Macia, a 27-year-old Mozambican who worked as a taxi driver in Daveyton, Gauteng.

A cellphone video, which was broadcast internationally yesterday, showed how Macia was dragged behind a police van after which he was locked in a police cell, where he died.

President Jacob Zuma joined the chorus of criticism yesterday, describing the evidence of police brutality as “horrific”.

Zuma said no human being should be treated in this manner.

The police said Macia had resisted arrest and tried to steal a policeman’s firearm and added that he died after inmates in the holding cell had allegedly attacked him.

This is, however, disputed both by the amateur footage and eye witnesses who were at the scene when Macia was dragged behind the police vehicle. They say Macia was driving down Epilwenistraat and had stopped a few metres from the corner of Hlakwana street in his employer’s Toyota Avanza to pick up passengers.

The video was sent by one of the eye witnesses to sister paper the Daily Sun.

Police officers stopped behind him in a police van and told him to drive away. An argument ensued and the police tried to take his keys.

Taxi managers told sister paper Beeld that when police tried to grab the keys of a taxi, it usually signalled that they wanted a bribe.

Macia held on to his key and was pulled out of his vehicle by the police officers. At this stage, people had started to gather around the police van and taxi.

In front of more than 10 onlookers, and the person who took the video on his cellphone, the police officers made Macia sit behind the police van and reportedly tied his hands with cable ties to the van’s floor.

One of the police officers then started to drive away, dragging Macia behind the van.

The door of the van was not firmly clasped and as the van swung across the road, the door closed and hit Macia in the face.

The video shows how two of the officers picked up Macia’ legs and tried to carry him behind the speeding bakkie, but then dropped his legs when the bakkie went too fast for them.

Sergio Malia, Macia’s colleague, who drove taxis for the same owner, one Mr Mokoena, said the police officers raced down the road causing Macia’s pants to tear off by the rough tar.

Malia said several of Macia’s bones in his lower body were broken or crushed. He also suffered several head injuries.

Macia was then taken into custody and placed in a holding cell where it was later found that he had succumbed to his injuries.

Malia, who went looking for Macia on Tuesday night, was told at about 3 am that Macia had died.

Moses Dlamini, spokesperson for Ipid, said the constable and warrant officer who manned the police van in the video, were patrolling Epilweni street at about 7 am when they saw a taxi stopped in the street.

“They asked the driver to continue driving, but he then assaulted the constable. During the struggle he also tried to take the constable’s firearm.”

“The warrant officer, however, managed to reclaim the firearm and subdued Macia.

“The warrant officer then drove in Macia’s taxi to the police station to get reinforcements. When he returned, he was still resisting arrest and they loaded him into the back of the van. He was locked with other suspects in the holding cell, where he was later found dead.”

Ipid was later informed of his death in custody and started an investigation.

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