Man locks up drunk cop

2013-01-16 15:34
Russell George explains how he locked up an allegedly drunk police officer in the back of his own police van. (The Witness)

Russell George explains how he locked up an allegedly drunk police officer in the back of his own police van. (The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A KwaZulu-Natal man arrested an allegedly drunk police officer and locked him up in the back of his police van after watching him drive recklessly through the streets of Pietermaritzburg.

Russell George, of Prestbury, said he was coming down Stott Street and about to enter Mayor’s Walk at about 20:00 on Sunday when he noticed a police van driving fast and recklessly.

“He was driving towards oncoming traffic as he turned into Victoria Road.

Accident

“At this point I was concerned about the safety of other road users,” self-employed George told The Witness.

“He suddenly jammed on his brakes and came to a complete stop.

“I got out of my car and went towards him and I asked him if he knew what he was doing. He started his car and carried on driving,” he said.

Continuing to drive recklessly, the policeman turned into Logan Road and came to a stop at the Howard Road intersection.

George decided it would be best to call 10111. He was told the police would be there shortly.

“After five minutes, no one had arrived. So I jumped out of my car and I approached the driver’s side and asked him to come out. He looked at me and I could smell that he had been drinking.

“I asked him again, and he refused.

“I then grabbed his keys, pulled him out and locked him in the back of his own van,” George said.

He added that the police van was badly damaged, as if it had been involved in an accident.

Birthday celebrations

Khanyi Mnikathi, a witness who lives on Howard Road, also said the policeman was drunk when he was pulled out of the vehicle.

She said: “He was quite sloshed. He was weak enough for him to be pulled out and into the back of the van.

“When he was put into the back [of the van], he started crying.”

She said the police officers who arrived there “were quite embarrassed”.

“It was ironic because it was a citizen who put him in the back of his own van,” she said.

Mnikathi said that when her mother approached the officer to ask him what happened, he said he had been celebrating his birthday and that all his friends had bought him a bottle of alcohol. “He did not deny that he was drunk,” she said.

Another witness, who gave his name as Sbu, agreed that the officer was very drunk.

The policeman was taken to Loop Street police station.

It was alleged that police had recently been called to a nightclub in the city where the officer had held up his girlfriend at gunpoint.

George said that while he was giving his statement, “two men came into the station to report that a police van had crashed into [their vehicle] and fled”.

Charges

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan confirmed that the policeman had been taken into custody.

“He will be charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol,” she said.

“While he was in custody, we received a report that he had been involved in a collision in Prestbury.

“He is also going to be investigated for reckless and negligent driving,” said Jeevan.

She added that police were aware of an incident “where there was a problem with his girlfriend”.

She said an investigation into an assault was pending and that the officer’s firearm had been taken away.

Zweli Mnisi, spokesperson for Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, said justice should prevail and that the investigation should take place without prejudice.

Read more on:    police  |  pietermaritzburg
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