Man dies in cop custody

2010-03-22 00:00

NOTTINGHAM Road police have been accused of brutality after they allegedly beat up a prisoner during interrogation who later died at Northdale Hospital.

Bhekuyise Mtolo of the Loteni area was apparently employed as a farm worker in Nottingham Road. He and another man were arrested late last week on suspicion of housebreaking and theft.

According to a source who cannot be named for fear of reprisals, the two suspects were severely beaten during their interrogation, with Mtolo sustaining more serious injuries.

On Saturday, Mtolo had to be taken to the nearby clinic as he was in pain, the source said. He reported abdominal pain, was vomiting blood and struggling to urinate.

“He was taken to the Mooi River clinic yesterday. The clinic staff could not cope with his injuries and so they transferred him to Northdale Hospital.

“We believe that he was beaten up on Friday as the police were trying to coerce a confession from him,” continued the source.

Another source close to the station, who confirmed the incident, alleged that prisoner abuse at the station is a common occurrence.

“Some officers at this station are still using the old methods of finding out the truth from the suspects. They beat them up to try and coerce a confession, and there is nothing intelligent about the interrogation process.”

The source further claimed that many officers who have witnessed the atrocities committed there have either been forced to leave for raising the matter or are keeping quiet for fear of losing their jobs.

“There is a lot of prisoner abuse at the station, but there is not much that those who disagree with it can do, because they might be chased out of the station.”

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed the death, but said he cannot comment on the allegations of prisoner abuse, adding, “A postmortem will be conducted and the circumstances surrounding his death will be investigated.”

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