'Officer assaulted me'

2011-10-17 00:00

A SOUTHBROOM resident has complained about alleged abuse by a Margate police detective after he was assaulted last Sunday outside a tavern in Gillicima.

Richard Luna (29) said he was having car trouble and parked his car on the side of the road.

“The battery on the car was low so we parked the car on the road side so that it would be easy to push-start if we had a problem to start it later on.”

He said the officer, whose name is being withheld until further investigation, called his employee and asked him to move the car.

“When he explained to the officer why the car was parked on the road, [the officer] asked my employee to call me.”

Luna said that when he arrived the officer told him the car was causing an obstruction.

“I told him why it was parked there and asked him if he would help us to push it from the side of the road into a driveway,” said Luna.

This was when the officer started to become violent. “He started accusing us of disrespecting him and then he cuffed me and said that he is going to teach me a lesson.”

Luna said the officer appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. “His breath smelt of alcohol. He was wearing civvies and was accompanied by his father, his son and two friends in the state vehicle that he was driving.”

Luna protested at being cuffed. “Firstly, I had done nothing wrong so I could not understand why I was cuffed. Also the cuffs were too tight and they were hurting my hands so I asked to be uncuffed.”

Luna said the detective told him that he did not have the keys. “I was cuffed for 20 minutes and put in the back of the cop car. Two other officers appeared. One walked around the car to where I was and then went to the detective and asked him to uncuff me.”

Luna was freed and all three policemen left.

“If I had done something wrong, why did they not take me to the police station and charge me?” he asked.

On Monday and Tuesday Luna consulted a lawyer about how to proceed with the matter. He also sought medical advice for his hurt hand.

“On Wednesday my lawyer advised me to open a charge of assault against the detective, but when I went to Margate police station the officers at the charge office refused to open a case.”

Luna was referred to the Independent Complaints Directorate, which advised him to lodge a complaint with the provincial SAPS office.

“The provincial guys said I must go back to Margate and meet the station commander to open the case, which I did on Thursday.”

Luna said the detective is known for abusing his authority.

A spokesperson for Margate police, Sergeant Phumzile Makaula, confirmed that a case against the detective has been opened.

“We are investigating the case and the detective is still at work while the investigations continue. There is nothing more we can say until the investigations are complete.”

• witness@feveronline.co.za

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