Victim of police assault wants justice done

2011-06-02 00:00

A YOUNG Howick young man is demanding justice after he and a friend allegedly suffered a harrowing ordeal involving police brutality at the Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday night.

Innocent Dlamini (22) said he and his friend Remon Davids were severely assaulted by a group of about 10 police officers in uniform between 10 pm and 11 pm.

The alleged incident happened soon after the two had finished watching a live performance by Johnny Clegg.

“The police officers kicked and punched us repeatedly until I passed out. When I regained consciousness they continued to assault me. Tear gas was sprayed in our eyes and we were shocked with stun guns,” said Dlamini.

He sustained an injury to his hand, and his one ear was left blocked and bleeding.

Dlamini works as a secretary for Roman Catholic Redemptorist Publications in Merrivale, while his friend works in Pietermaritzburg.

He was only allowed to open an assault case on Tuesday evening.

He said that soon after the attack they went to Pietermaritzburg Central police station to lay charges, but were chased out soon after mentioning that police officers were the culprits.

Dlamini said their trouble started when they were walking around the flea market section doing window shopping.

He said they stop to look at a jewellery stand that belongs to Nani Bashir.

“My friend admired the rings and wanted to buy one, but when he took a close look at it he realised that it was not real silver and he put it back.

“We had walked a short distance from the store when the guy grabbed me and accused me of having stolen one of his rings.

“I asked him to search me if he suspected me, but he grabbed hold of me and attempted to hit me,” said Dlamini.

He said a security guard and a military officer intervened and called the police.

Then a group of Indian police officers, accompanied by a black policeman, took him and Davids into a building. He said the door and windows were closed before the assault started.

“They said ‘Why are you k****** and bushmen stealing here?’. They started beating us up. I thought I was going to die,” he said.

He said a white woman pushed the door open and questioned the police about the assault.

He said a group of soldiers came in and all the police officers left the building.

Then the pair went to Pietermaritzburg Central police station.

“Soon after mentioning that we had been assaulted by police we were told, ‘Get out of here — you are messing the room with blood’. We then left without opening the case,” Dlamini said.

Hassan Dar, who works for Bashir, said a group of four young men came into the store and grabbed a number of rings and ran away.

Dar said group was made up of two white men, a coloured and a black man.

“Nani and I gave chase and the two white men managed to escape.

“When we caught the black guy, a coloured guy came back and tried to fight us, which led to police intervening and taking them to their building.

“Police did take statements from us,” said Dar.

Bashir said that later that night police came to his store and told him two suspects had been arrested. He said they told him the same thing on Sunday, but did not give him a case number.

Royal Agricultural Society of Natal CEO Terrence Strachan denied knowing about the incident.

“I sit on security meetings every morning, but that incident was never reported to me,” he said.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan confirmed the incident was reported.

She denied there was police brutality, but confirmed that a case of assault has been opened against the police officers.

“The South African Police members at the Royal Show, together with a private security company, attended to complaints of drunkenness, hooliganism and unruly behaviour at the flea market section in the Royal Show grounds.

“Several patrons were subsequently removed from the scene and asked to leave the show, only to return a short while later, and continued their bad behaviour, including damaging a police vehicle,” she said.

Dlamini denied any theft or damaging a police car.

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