Harassed woman to sue police

2019-05-28 06:00
Esethu Mcinjana who was arrested by police while waiting for a job interview.

Esethu Mcinjana who was arrested by police while waiting for a job interview.

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The woman from Blue Downs who was recently arrested by the Seapoint police while waiting to go for a job interview has a lawyer now and is planning on suing the police.

Esethu Mcinjana (23) arrived early on Sunday 19 May for an interview at a hotel that was offering internships. She arrived at 09:00 and bided her time by taking selfies on a park bench while waiting for the interview, that was supposed to start at 09:45. Two police officers approached her and went through her bag, accusing her of using a remote to jam cars. She was taken into custody and only released on Monday 20 May, missing her interview.

During her ordeal, she recorded a video with her cellphone that has gone viral on the internet and enraging thousands of people and inviting calls for heads to roll.

Mcinjana said she is traumatised by the whole thing. “I have never had a run in with the police, so this was very scary for me. The female officer said terrible things to me while confronting me. She also spoke in Afrikaans so I couldn’t understand everything she said. This prompted me to record what was happening. When the officer went through my bag, I got the chance to record,” says Mcinjina.

In her bag, amongst other things, was her house key with a remote control attached to it. In the video, the female officer can be heard saying in Afrikaans “I found what I was looking for”.

According to Mcinjana the remote is not even working. “I just used it as a key holder. I tried to explain to the officers that I am just waiting for the interview time, even asking them to have a look at the e-mail that was sent to me. They did not want to listen to reason and arrested me, saying you ‘cannot go for an interview on a Sunday’. At the station they took my picture and my fingerprints. This was embarrassing and traumatising. At 16:00 they went to the hotel to ask if I indeed was there for an interview and it was confirmed, but still they kept me overnight,” says Mcinjina.

Mcinjina said while she is traumatised by what happened, she is overwhelmed by the support she has received from far and wide. “A lawyer contacted me and offered his services. After I explained to the people at the hotel what happened to me, they invited me back for the interview yesterday (27 May). I am glad I made the video so that people can see what the police are capable of and I hope this will inspire other people to stand up when they feel they are being victimised,” says Mcinjina.

Last Friday the Western Cape police released a statement saying that a probe has been launched into the incident. “The police in the Western Cape notes with concern media reports and social media posts of Esethu Mcinjana who was wrongfully arrested by Sea Point police on Sunday 19 May. As a consequence, an investigation has been instituted to probe the matter,” read the statement.

The investigation will be led by a senior police officer from the Cape Town cluster and the details will be made known once the investigation is finalised.

Mayor Dan Plato also issued a statement condemning the incident. “While the police does not report to the City of Cape Town and comment is awaited from them regarding the alleged wrongful arrest of Mcinjana, the City has already reported the matter to the Western Cape Police ombudsman for a full investigation. I would like to urge Mcinjana to please contact the ombudsman’s office and personally report her unfortunate incident for investigation ... ,” read’s Plato’s statement.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, has previously circulated a memo reminding the City’s own law enforcement officers that it is within the rights of members of the public to take photos of staff in their uniform.”

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