‘Aggressive’ police storm popular eatery

2011-02-26 19:36

Video footage shows heavily armed police storming into the restaurant.

Women scream while people are yanked off their chairs and thrown onto the ground where they are hit and kicked by cops.

No, it isn’t footage from Egypt or Libya.

The place is Catz ­Pyjamas, a bar and restaurant in Melville, Johannesburg.

The police were dealing with an unrelated incident outside when a bottle was thrown at them.

They suspected it had been thrown from the restaurant’s balcony. What happened after this was captured on the restaurant’s ­security cameras.

“One moment everyone was sitting around casually and the next there was shouting that everyone must sit on the floor,” said Natascha Coetzee, the owner of the restaurant.

“They didn’t ask to speak to me or the manager. They simply pulled the customers off their chairs and assaulted some of them.”
Twelve men and a woman were arrested and taken to Brixton Police Station.

The video shows a client coming out of the toilet – not knowing that the police were in the restaurant and had told everyone to sit on the floor.

One police official grabs him by the arm and another one storms towards him and hits him in the face.

The strike sends him to the ground. A third policeman kicks him repeatedly in the stomach, ribs and face.

“Not one of the clients was aggressive with the police,” said Coetzee. “They were too shocked and did what the police asked them.”

Warrant Officer Lorraine van Emmerik said police raided the restaurant because they were violating the liquor law by still being open after 2am.

“The police wanted to close the place, but some of the people were trying to stop them from carrying out their duties.”

Van Emmerik didn’t want to comment on the video footage.

“We didn’t see it. If there is footage the owner should bring it to us so we can investigate.”

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