Officer tells court of ‘unexplained’ arrest and mistreatment

2015-11-13 11:12

(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - Police Captain Paul Williams, who is suing the minister of Police, says members of the Public Order Police Unit gave no reason for arresting him in Scottsville.

He told Judge Peter Ohlsen yesterday he suffered “excruciating” pain during his ordeal on the night of September 9, 2011, from 9 pm until his release round 4 am the next day.

He testified that before he was “grabbed” and dragged from his car by several policemen, he hooted and asked them to move their kombi, which was blocking the road.

He had just dropped off his friend, Mondli Mkhize, at home after they had supper at Cascades centre.

Williams said he drank two draught beers and two glasses of wine with his meal.

“They just looked at me and carried on with what they were doing … I got frustrated and I shouted, ‘Can you please move your bloody vehicle’,” said Williams.

“Almost automatically” a group of policemen suddenly descended on him, he said.

“My car door was flung open and I was being grabbed.”

One policeman jumped into the passenger seat and pushed him out of the driver’s door, while another kept a choke hold on his neck whilst dragging him out.

He was “hauled out” with such force that his slops (sandals) came off his feet and remained in his car.

“I shouted out to them that I am a policeman from Crime Intelligence and someone, I don’t know who, said ‘We don’t care who you are’.”

Williams said his hands were handcuffed behind his back and he was forcibly slammed against his car, damaging the rear door.

Barefoot, in shorts and T-shirt, he was “dragged along the road” to the police van.

“I wasn’t resisting. I was told to get in but with one’s hands behind one’s back it isn’t an easy thing to do. Obviously I was taking too long … I felt a hard push from the back which sent me flying,” he said.

He said his head struck a tyre or similar object in the rear. The door was closed and he lay unmoving face down for what seemed like a long time.

“I then heard voices and the van started moving … I was being thrown from side to side and sliding from one side to another, twisting and turning …”

Williams said it seemed as if the driver was deliberately trying to “harm” him by erratic driving.

The same thing happened again after he was taken to Daymed hospital where blood was drawn at “around midnight” and he was given sobriety tests, he said.

There for the first time a nurse told him that he was being tested for “possible drinking and driving”.

Williams said he told the nurse he needed a doctor to examine him, and told her his injuries were caused by the policemen with him. But she replied that he had to pay R300 or produce a medical aid card, which he did not have since the policemen had his car and his wallet.

He testified the policemen were “sniggering” and on leaving the hospital they told him he thought he was “clever”.

They again handcuffed his hands behind his back and again drove in an erratic manner.

Williams said this time he was on his back and the pain in his hands was “even more excruciating”.

He had tried to lift his body weight off the handcuffs by placing his feet onto the roof of the van but could not keep his body up.

During cross examination, two policemen involved in the arrest, Warrant Officer V. Mbongwa and Constable Z. Mehlomakhulu (who drove the van), said they found out at Daymed hospital that Williams was a police captain.

Mbongwa said in reply to a question by the judge the reason for again handcuffing Williams at that stage was “because it is the law” and was standard procedure.

Constable Mehlomakhulu testified that he drove “normally”.

The case is proceeding.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court  |  police

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