Cops rough up Pta photographer

2011-02-04 22:28

Pretoria - Police officers attempted to storm the Pretoria News building late on Friday afternoon in an apparent bid to arrest a photographer who had taken pictures of them arresting a suspected thief.

A Pretoria News staff member said that the newspaper's chief photographer Masi Losi had rushed out of the building to take pictures of a mob that had caught a suspected thief.

Police arrived and arrested the suspect, but then according to the staffer turned on Losi and attempted to take his camera.

Other newspaper staff dragged Losi into the building and police demanded that they be allowed to enter the building and hand over the photographer and his camera.

A senior police officer could later be seen in Vermeulen Street talking to Pretoria News executive editor Jos Charle as about 30 police officers milled around in the street.

Numerous police vehicles were parked in the street with their lights flashing, watched by a large crowd.

Charle confirmed the incident, saying he had seen the arrest of the thief from his office window and then the reaction of the officers to Losi taking pictures.

He said he became alarmed when one of the officers shoved Losi to the ground and had his knee on his chest and another on his holster.

"I went down. They threatened to arrest me as well," he said, adding the police had claimed that he was interfering with them.

Charle said the police demanded that he hand over Losi and wanted to enter the Pretoria News building.

He instructed the security personnel to keep the building closed preventing the police from entering.

He said that he had received an apology from Gauteng Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros, who he said had promised to investigate the incident.

  • JohannV - 2011-02-04 22:39

    Old Petros is always apologizing. lol

      Hans-Erik Iken - 2011-02-05 00:18

      An apology is pointless if they do not train the cops to uphold the constitution. It would be better to prevent this nonsense then to continue to have to apologise for it. Fire a few cops that didn't learn their lessons and soon enough the problem will subside.

  • Rick - 2011-02-04 22:51

    Typical SAPS - stupid as pig shit.

      Chris Hitchcock - 2011-02-05 06:41

      The expression is 'thick as pig shit'. The irony.

      ct-ion - 2011-02-05 08:53

      hahaha, don't breed please.

      clint1980b - 2011-02-05 09:05

      @Chris...I think u missed the "acronym"...

      pawsaw - 2011-02-05 13:20

      Please don't generalise. Not all police are cut from ther same cloth and those who don't behave this way may save your life some day.

  • Unathi - 2011-02-04 23:08

    Police r gud arrestng journalist and photographers than criminals. Same incident happened to me, when the was a service delivery protest in Philippi,CT.Dey wantd my camera too, I refused till they broke my cameras cord these bastard.

      CITIZEN - 2011-02-04 23:27

      Unathi not all police are bad one day you going to need them to help you then are you going to say what "bastard i need your help" they will never come please dont generalised that all police men and women are bad it goes to Rick all so calling people who risk there lifes for as stupid as pig shit you going to need them then i want to see what you will call them

      Jo - 2011-02-04 23:35

      Unathi, I find this very worrying too - why are they afraid of photographs? Strange, this.

      Looter - 2011-02-05 00:13

      citizen, you can love your cops as much as you want, i have no respect for them as they have none for me! I have only once talked to a police officer that has his head on straight! They are here to protect our way of life, and in todays age, they always rock up at the party too late!

      mpanzame - 2011-02-05 12:06

      Maybe not all the police are bad, but it just takes one to paint a picture of these gooooons. Dont forget the Winnie story. And those cops who killed some guy for going the wrong direction in PTA. and that cop who beat that lady in Camperdown, and that cop that had a go at Max DuPreez, and ---- there are so many such stories - help me find the good ones. I would like to be positive, but in my area, my dealings with these guys tells me that are useless - sorry.

  • GT - 2011-02-04 23:19

    Sue them, charge them with assault and getter the futher muckers fired. HANDS OFF JOURNO'S, this is not Zimbabwe, Egypt, North Korea or Libya. Cele and his garbage mouth is responsible for this. They think they are the law, they fail to grasp their function in society is to UPHOLD the law. I hope South African's of all persuasions are paying attention, this is not amateur hour, it is ticketing time-bomb hour. Once our freedoms are gone, they will gone for a very long time.

  • Freddie - 2011-02-04 23:24

    Police brutality borders on the apartheid regime tactics it only happens when politicians send the wrong message are we moving into a police state seems like it if this arrogance is observed!

  • ptdesigns - 2011-02-04 23:34

    This is really scary shit. The police are out of control, and they think that they can do as they please. There is a law of the land, and what they did is totally unacceptable. What next? Those officers should be fired, but we know that they will be suspended with full pay pending investigation. This will take at least two years or more. There is still freedom of the press, and mark my words there is a dark side to all of this.....

  • Faith - 2011-02-05 06:43

    This is what all these people whining about the police not doing enough to fight crime gets. You want tougher police? Ok, you'll get a police state.

      Zion - 2011-02-05 07:00

      Faith, you should be able to descern between police doing their job and police brutalising the citizenry. Beating up a journo doing his job is doing a police job but the lowest form of thuggery and criminality.

      sean.sharkie - 2011-02-05 12:01

      How is taking photographs a crime? Police are more concerned about these incidents, rather than catching the real criminals!

      croix - 2011-02-06 03:54

      Ag CRAP man - there is a RIGHT and a WRONG way do police work. This is NOT a POLICE STATE (yet), but if this type of police brutality is not checked immediately from the highest authority (Cele and Mtetwa) - then I'm afraid we are going to live in one! What 'ptdesigns' says, were my exact thoughts when first reading this - scary stuff! Where in the laws of our country does it say a journalist (or anyone) may NOT TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS of policemen arresting someone? Too many incidents of police treating members of the public with utter disrespect. Do they now need "Life Skills Training" too?

  • coolwaynie - 2011-02-05 07:05

    Reminds one of a military or police state doesn't it. Isn't this what they accused the previous government of being...umfaans in glass houses shouldn't throw stones..

  • Sizwe - 2011-02-05 07:07

    There is more to this story than what meets the eye. If the police truely acted in appropriately, then the Journo and his Co. ought to report it to the ICD and sue the Minister of Police. If not then it is not as simple as they make it out to be. The police are not always in the wrong...

      OuBoerseun - 2011-02-05 07:59

      I agree with you Sizwe, maybe there was a reason why they wanted the camera. Journalists seem to be the first to cry foul never mind the rights of the public or the other party.

      misterjakes - 2011-02-05 10:19

      Are the police allowed to confiscate any property if no crime has been committed? Surely that is what normal people would call theft. If a crime had been committed, then they could arrest the journalist. And all the 'attempting to gain access' without a warrant...sue them. Hit them where it hurst the most. You can't hit back, so just sue them.

  • leon.homan - 2011-02-05 07:16

    Why are people so scared of photographers?

      misterjakes - 2011-02-05 10:19

      because the truth might come out.

  • Thingamebob - 2011-02-05 07:22


  • feppie - 2011-02-05 07:28

    Are we moving to a Police State?

      Thingamebob - 2011-02-05 09:47

      Woman cops at the police training grounds were forced to shave their hair off. Its not long now and they will be learning the goose step. seig heil

      jevoixtout - 2011-02-05 11:43

      Already there. Mc Bribe and his merry men are proof of this.

  • Brent - 2011-02-05 07:38

    I have been in this situation too as a photographer. The problem is that police offers often use excessive force when arresting in a situation like this and they are scarted that this could incriminate them. I do agree that we should not generalise as only some police officers are like this. However what disturbs me more and why the problem continues is that most of the good police officers will not rat on their bad behavioured colleagues and so the cycle continues. The "services" concept of SAPS has a long way to go to actually be realised.

      lmduplessis - 2011-02-05 09:29

      Thats because when they rat out these bad speciments they are usually the one to get fired/demoted/passed over for promotion/get transferred to an unattractive post. It's not a wise carreer move.

  • Carolyn - 2011-02-05 07:50

    Send the bastards back to the PIG styes they belong in. Jernolists have a right as well

      suspiciousme - 2011-02-05 08:26

      Yeah! and journalists too!!!!!!

      lmduplessis - 2011-02-05 09:29


      misterjakes - 2011-02-05 10:24

      Picking on people for their spelling on an online-news-blog-whatever is childish. If you have nothing to say about their argument - only their spelling - then your opinion is as unimportant as you propose the other person's to be.

  • Mark - 2011-02-05 07:52

    Cops are human being like everyone else, they are not kind of vampires or animals, what they go through everyday of their lives, while we are sleeping or creating problems its not a joke, my point is these people need lot of training, trauma counciling, we should start showing them how important they are to the community its not easy to harm your friend or member of your family, taking their jobs wont solve this but more inteligent desperate criminals shoot with no mercy because of anger, let us protect these people so they protect us, if you are corupt the law should play its role, and we should blame them on handling these matters not cops

      GT - 2011-02-05 14:53

      I think the cops are on hiding to nothing, but they should be under no illusions, journalists and cameramen are not to be touched.

  • Rumbler - 2011-02-05 07:53

    Tianamin square coming to SA - soon!

  • Great White - 2011-02-05 07:53

    Gestapo tactics. Not a good idea to intimidate the media though...

  • Rumbler - 2011-02-05 07:54

    Tianamin square coming to SA - soon!

  • Cyberman - 2011-02-05 08:00

    Give them a uniform, sunglasses and a gun and Voila! they think they're Gods!!!! Nothing will happen - in fact they'll probably be given bonuses! The majority of them really don't give a sh*t about crime - they're just in it for the ride and to see how much the can PERSONALLY cream out of the long sufferring SA public.

  • Dan - 2011-02-05 08:09

    They should do something seriously to our police service, especially the Pretoria Metro Police. I have no time for the "invasive" conduct of media reporters, but less time for the poor conduct of police officers.The photographer didn't break any law and I hope the Pretoria News sues the pants of the police. It is high time all citizens sue the police when they turn to their usual "monkey" behaviour. Apart from being flooded with criminals in the police, their apparent lack of training and lack of knowlede of the law are laughable.

      misterjakes - 2011-02-05 10:27

      the invasive conduct is legally allowed. It paves the way to accountability in a democracy. What is not allowed by law is for police officers to assault or use visibly excessive force, which, from what I read every day, is becoming a huge problem.

  • briansmith702 - 2011-02-05 08:13

    When you are rotten at the top what else can you expect. Horses for courses.

  • SuckSesStory - 2011-02-05 08:23

    "Numerous police vehicles were parked in the street with their lights flashing, watched by a large crowd." Funny how many vehicles and police can be found when this happens.. Wouldnt it be great if those resources were available for real crime busting?? Like in our neighbourhood..

      lmduplessis - 2011-02-05 09:32

      When there is trouble like this the offending officers like to call in backup so the crowd wo't get ugly. Protection in numbers from their own criminality.

  • vhaele - 2011-02-05 08:25

    1 thing 1st police go n arrest innocem\nt people in sunnyside, 2 police dnt arrest criminals, 3 fuck dis bastardz , time for sa to have rules n regulations of people who are being tAKEN TO THE POLICE STATION, IF U AINT A CRIMINAL DE POLICE WHO ARRESTED U SHOULD SUFFER, THANX

  • seymb - 2011-02-05 08:44

    I guess the real issue is what does the law say. Do the SAPS have this protection or not. If not then they are breaking the law and should be arrested.

  • Rich - 2011-02-05 08:44

    People thought they had it rough during the apartheid era--HA HA

  • AND SO ON... - 2011-02-05 08:57

    The vast majority of cops wouldn't know the law if it leapt up and hit them in the face, and an even larger majority do not have a clue what the SUPREME law of the land (the Bill of Rights as contained in the Constitution) is, or what it contains. I work with these dimwits every day, and what they don't know is the scary part

  • Colin - 2011-02-05 09:13

    Thirty to one sounds like very brave cops, typical police brutality. Why are they so agressive. I thought it was "innocent until proven guilty" obviously SAPS don't go along with this idea.

  • Joanna - 2011-02-05 09:32

    Maybe the police were beating up the thief and didn't want the photographer to record it. I'd be happy to see a policeman beat up a thief. Not kill him - just beat him up a bit.

      misterjakes - 2011-02-05 10:29

      what if he is not a thief. surely a court will decide. otherwise, remove all courts in the country and give power of judgment and punishment to the police. Would you trust them to do that?

      Joanna - 2011-02-05 11:35

      Not a suspected thief - a caught red-handed thief.

      GT - 2011-02-05 14:56

      And Joanna, when you or your family is getting beaten by the cops, who are you going to run to for help. Once you trample the laws, you trample them for everyone, INCLUDING YOURSELF!

      Joanna - 2011-02-05 17:57

      You're right, GT. Were it not for my hatred of the perpetrators of crime in this country, I'd not say such a thing. It affects my mindset badly. The cops in this incident are clearly the criminals anyway.

  • stormpoet - 2011-02-05 09:51

    This is ridiculous. No way for a police force to act! It seems we are really going to hell in this country - everything seems to just be going backwards. I'd sue the crap out of them if they did that to me.

  • Judge Dredd - 2011-02-05 10:00

    This is typical cop conduct. They are so afraid of cameras, they are paranoid about it. Question is why? Answer is that they could be caught on camera doing something illegal. And lo behold, police do not act illegal, do they? It is quite ironic that in a supposed democracy, members of public are not allowed to take pictures? South Africa is a police state and incidents like this are numerous and happen daily.

  • Shadoz - 2011-02-05 10:55

    The police in this country seem to sometimes think that they are above what they are meant to be protecting. Even the criminals deserve to be treated as humans no matter how much we want to deal out what they deserve otherwise we will just be a mob and police state where rules only apply to a selective group of people. We need to stand behind our police but we also need to make sure they don't go 2 far and get away with murder themselves.

  • Alice - 2011-02-05 11:02

    This is common occurence, the criminals are also in the police force. Time to purge them OUT.

  • Mj - 2011-02-05 11:10

    At least twice a year I catch out these corrupt cops. One thing that their bosses ashamed to do is a formal apology.

  • mpanzame - 2011-02-05 11:57

    Good thing his hair was short, and he wasnt a woman or worse, one of the political elites thugs. Come to think of it, the rate of crimes being reported is dropping - we are too sh!t scared to call the police.

  • annie.kalahari - 2011-02-05 17:11

    It seems to me that despite the regime's claims that they won't, there seems to be an ongoing militarisation of the SA Police Force which bodes ill for the citizenry they are supposed to 'protect.' If this is 'protectionfor the citizens of SA' than perhaps the SA Police 'Force" should examine the exact meaning of that term? This isn't it, is it?

  • theone - 2011-02-07 08:32

    since the justice system is faillling us, mob justice is an alternative. what was a journalist doing there? to get story? if i was on the crowd i would have kicked his ass.

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