Man bitten by police dog faces charges

2011-11-10 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG man was badly hurt on Tuesday night, allegedly when police assaulted him and set a dog on him.

Pat Hlabangana claimed he was bitten on both arms, his back and his upper body when a police dog attacked him.

His friend, Mthokozisi Mkhize, suffered a swollen lip during the alleged beating.

The two have been charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and crimen injuria.

Hlabangana told The Witness he was walking with Mkhize and his girlfriend along West Street at about 10.30 pm on Tuesday, looking for a taxi to go to Caluza, when an argument broke out between him and his girlfriend.

He said he was trying to convince her to accompany him to Caluza. She refused, wanting to go to her home in Ashdown instead, and he held on to her bag.

Two police officers driving on the other side of West Street saw the argument and made a U-turn.

“The moment the police got out of the car they pepper-sprayed me,” Hlabangana said.

“They barely asked what was going on.”

He said the officers tried to force him to lie down, but he refused, and they charged him with resisting arrest.

The pepper spray made him stagger blindly, he said, and he bumped into one of the police officers, for which he was charged with assault.

Hlabangana said one of the policemen fetched a dog from the vehicle and deliberately let the animal loose on him.

The dog bit him all over his body and tore his pants at the back.

Mkhize said that while Hlabangana was being bitten another policeman threatened to set a second dog on Hlabangana unless he let go of the first dog.

By this time several police vehicles were at the scene.

“I do not think the officer had ever worked with dogs before because when the dog was biting Hlabangana, and did not want to let him go, he could not get it off. Another officer had to come and pat it on the back to remove it.”

Mkhize said an ambulance was called to the scene to attend to Hlabangana’s injuries, but they were not taken to the doctor or given pain killers for their injuries.

Lieutenant Joey Jeevan confirmed the incident has been reported and said both men are facing charges of assault, resisting arrest, hindering a police official in the execution of his duties and crimen injuria.

thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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