Cops assaulted us — couple

2008-04-29 00:00

AN Orient Heights couple have been left shaken after what they described as an evening from hell when they were allegedly assaulted by Mountain Rise police officers.

While most South Africans enjoyed a Freedom Day holiday with family yesterday, Subba Naidoo and his wife Patchamma (both 61) said they were in hospital, shortly after their release from the Mountain Rise holding cells.

According to the Naidoos, their ordeal started when they came back to their rented home in Gogas Road after an evening outing with family members visiting from Durban.

The landlord, who occupies the upper part of the house, while the Naidoos occupy the bottom part, told them he did not want the visitors’ car in his parking lot.

Subba said he then moved the car next to their front door, but the landlord allegedly started swearing at them, threatening to call the police.

When two police officers arrived at around midnight, one of the officers started swearing at them without provocation, said Subba.

“All I wanted them to see was how I was parked so that they could tell me if I was obstructing the way. And that’s the only reason why I did not move [the car],” said Subba.

He said that when he later took the car outside the premises, the landlord drove at full speed in his car — trying to pin him against the wall in full view of the police.

“When I asked them if they saw that, they said something like they were blind and they saw nothing.”

Thereafter, the Naidoos claim, the police officers dragged Subba back to the road, punching, kicking and spraying him what they suspect was teargas.

“I kept screaming and crying and told them to leave my husband because he is old and [they were] beating him in the dark. I thought they would kill him,” said Patchamma.

The couple said two more vans then arrived, and Patchamma and the visitors were then also allegedly assaulted after the landlord unlocked their front door without their consent.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed that the couple were detained and charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and obstruction of police duties.

“Police received a report of a disturbance from the landlord and upon arrival, tried to resolve the altercation. It would appear that the tenant was reluctant to resolve the issue … The main cause appeared to be liquor-related as there was a party under way and liquor was one of the elements,” said Budhram.

He said the couple are expected to appear in court shortly.

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