Suspect shot, cops probed

2011-06-17 00:00

POLICE officers in Harding are being investigation by the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) following the death of one of the most wanted criminals last week.

“The police officers went to the house of the deceased who was wanted for various crimes,” said ICD spokesperson Tiyani Sambo, who confirmed the probe.

He said that when the officers arrived at the house the suspect opened fire, “and they retaliated in self-defence and shot him dead.”

Sambo could not say how many officers are being investigated and a post-mortem was due to be conducted at the time of going to press.

He said one of the reasons for not divulging more information is that the investigation is still at an early stage.

On Tuesday the ICD told Parliament that police brutality has become more prevalent at service delivery protests since 2009, but cases were often hard to solve because officers are reluctant to incriminate colleagues.

“It has been for the past two years that we have seen this,” ICD executive director Francois Beukman said after a briefing to Parliament’s portfolio committee about the ICD’s backlog of cases. This stands at 2 491 cases for the last financial year. Of these 729 were reported in KwaZulu-Natal, 676 in the Western Cape, 506 in Gauteng and 219 in Mpumalanga.

A drive to reduce the backlog saw the figure slashed by 57% to start the current year with 1 079 old cases on its books.

Beukman’s staff told MPs that it is often difficult to identify the police officers who committed abuses against protesters because they wore riot masks and fired rubber bullets which, unlike live ammunition, cannot be traced back to their weapons.

“One of the challenges we face with cases of service delivery protests is that we have units that are deployed from different areas,” ICD chief director of investigations Tommy Tshabalala said.

At the beginning of June Sapa reported that the ICD is investigating an estimated 6 000 cases against the police, Beukman said. He estimated that 2 500 of these cases involve criminal investigations.

ICD spokesperson Moses Dlamini said 40% of the cases involve criminal matters, most of which are crimes such as assault, murder, attempted murder and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.

Dlamini said that police training comes up very often as an issue during such cases.

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