Girl, 3, locked in police cell

2013-02-03 09:12
Charlie Niemann (Cornel van Heerden, Photo24)

Charlie Niemann (Cornel van Heerden, Photo24)

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Johannesburg – Police say they are investigating an incident in which a little girl was locked up in a police cell with her father.

Rapport reported how Hazyview resident Charlie Niemann, 29, was arrested on 6 January for drunk driving and thrown in an icy cold police cell with Cherise, 3, who was barefoot and only wearing pyjamas.

Niemann said he had drunk two beers earlier in the evening but denied being drunk when he drove down to the cafe to buy milk for his daughter and cigarettes for himself.

Police officers took the toddler to the police station and refused to take her home or let the child’s dad make a phone call

“It was terrible. My child was hysterical. The officials were inhuman. They even refused to give her water. When we got there and Cherise was crying, one threatened to throw her in a police cell if I couldn’t get her to calm down.”

His wife, Stephanie, 30, who was pregnant with the couple’s second child, said she expected the worst when the two didn’t come back from the café.

"We have taken Cherise to a counsellor and she is getting better. But she is scared of police officers. Whenever she sees a police car, she looks for her dad and starts crying hysterically.”

Niemann has laid a charge against the police with the independent complaints directorate.

A police spokesperson said it was illegal to lock up a child in a police cell and said it would be investigated. 

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