Mom-to-be wants cop punished for ‘assault’

2020-03-25 06:04

A WOMAN who is nine months pregnant is laying charges against a Msunduzi Municipality traffic officer for allegedly assaulting and arresting her after she had laughed at him.

The incident, which happened last Thursday on Retief Street, was captured on video and circulated on social networks.

In the video, the officer can be seen grabbing and pulling the visibly pregnant woman by her T-shirt while she tries to escape from his grasp.

Weekend Witness had reported on the incident but both Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson, Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese, and spokesperson for Msunduzi Municipality, Thobeka Mafumbatha, said the public were mistaken as the pregnant woman was being arrested for disrupting an officer while he was performing his duties.

Speaking to The Witness this week the woman (32), who asked not to be named out of embarrassment, alleged the officer had targeted her after she, along with other people, had laughed at him.

She is a street vendor in Retief Street.

“The officers were clearing the road so before they came to my table I went into a store nearby and sat inside. The officer came in and asked the store owner for a permit and the owner said he doesn’t have a permit as he was not a car.

Everyone in the store started laughing and he singled me out. He came to me and hit me with an open hand on my shoulder a couple of times.

“He told the other female officer to come and arrest me but I told him that no one was going to arrest me for simply laughing,” she said.

The woman said a scuffle ensued as the officer tried to drag her out of the store and she was resisting.

“He pulled me by my T-shirt until it came off and my bra snapped and I was left naked from the waist up. I was so humiliated as my breasts and stomach were bare for everyone to see,” said the woman with tears streaming down her face.

She said she was allowed to put her clothes back on, but the scuffle continued as she further refused to be handcuffed. “I am no criminal so I refused to be handcuffed like one.

My only sin was that I laughed but the issue is that I wasn’t the only one who laughed. I think he just targeted me because he saw I was pregnant and thought I was weak,” she said.

The woman alleged that while the officer was pulling her, she suffered from bruises on her body and that he strangled her. At some point, the woman said the officer asked his colleagues to give him pepper spray but they refused.

The woman was eventually arrested and charged with disrupting an officer and resisting arrest. She spent Thursday night in the holding cells at the Pietermaritzburg police station.

On Friday she appeared at the magistrate’s court but told The Witness that the case was dismissed by the magistrate as there was no evidence against her. The woman is now in the process of laying assault charges against the officer and is waiting for her lawyer to fetch her J88 form, detailing her injuries, from Northdale Hospital.

“I want the law to take its course. I don’t want his apology or anything, I just want him to be punished for how he treated me. I want this to teach him a lesson so that even if he doesn’t lose his job, he treats people with manners.” Msunduzi’s spokesperson, Mafumbatha, said the municipality is still doing its internal investigation on the matter.

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