Cops gunning for PigSpotter

2010-09-17 22:07

Johannesburg - A case against PigSpotter, a member of social networking site Twitter who tips off motorists about speed traps, was opened on Friday, Johannesburg metro police said.

"The case was opened against PigSpotter today (Friday), the charges he face include crimen injuria, defeating the ends of justice and defamation of character," Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar told Sapa.

"It is now open for investigation and I cannot comment on how it is being conducted."

PigSpotter earlier tweeted about the charges: "@bigdavesee Clive Rice is wishing. I did not refer to any specific cop as a pork chop, Crimen Injuria/ Defamation will not hold in court."

Radio personality Gareth Cliff also tweeted about the use of derogatory terms for police officers: "Metro cops want to arrest @PigSpotter for referring to them in disrespectful porcine terms. Go @PigSpotter!".

P.I.G

Up until Wednesday, PigSpotter was informing motorists about roadblocks around Johannesburg.

He had since stopped roadblock alerts over concerns that he could be tipping off drunk drivers and criminals, but he was still alerting motorists about speed traps.

By Thursday, he had stopped referring to police as "pigs", "porkers" or "bacon rashers", among others, and on Friday tweeted "P.I.G = Police In Gauteng".

After announcing that his BlackBerry from which he updates his alerts, would be going in for repairs on Friday, one of his followers tweeted: "@Mnce_Thabiso @PigSpotter i can see all the cellphone repairs shops being raided by the pigs..."

Minnaar could not confirm if this would happen.

Tweeters said police were stopping motorists to check their cellphones.

"I can't confirm this either," Minnaar said.

By 18:00 on Friday, PigSpotter had 14 301 followers on Twitter.

Misguided

Justice Project SA (JPSA) said on Thursday that anyone who tips off motorists about formal traffic roadblocks was contributing to criminality and should be stopped.

National chairperson Howard Dembovsky described PigSpotter as "misguided" with a big axe to grind.

"He seems like someone who has ended up with a huge amount of speeding tickets... if this person (PigSpotter) were to contact us, we will put him right on his skewed view of things," Dembovsky said.

The public should also understand that metro police- and not only motorists -- were victimised on the roads.

The use of derogatory terms such as "pigs, bacon, Kermit’s girlfriend", used by PigSpotter on Twitter in reference to metro police was also "unnecessary and childish", he said.

"Do you know that they (police) have had live snakes thrown at them?" asked Dembovsky.

"Many of these officers despise what they have to do, but they have no choice in the matter and it is unreasonable in the extreme for anyone to want to exact revenge on them personally," he said.

- SAPA
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