‘Drunk’ cop claims to have been framed

2015-08-30 23:02
The allegedly drunk policeman lay passed out in the police vehicle with a bottle of alcohol between his legs.

The allegedly drunk policeman lay passed out in the police vehicle with a bottle of alcohol between his legs. (Ben Heydenrych, Facebook )

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THE Mid-Illovo policeman photographed asleep in his van with a bottle of liqour between his legs claims he was framed, a claim that police unions, politicians and even community policing forum members have ridiculed.

A witness who posted photographs of the passed-out officer online last week said his tale was nonsense.

The images, posted by Ben Heydenrych on Facebook, were taken at 8 am in Scottsville last Saturday. They have since spread like wildfire on social media and have been picked up by international media such as the Daily Telegraph in Britain.

The policeman could be seen slumped in the driver’s seat. Both windows were wide open and the blue lights were flashing. Between his legs was a bottle, believed to be a Savanna cider. Heydenrych had initially tried to rouse the officer until two other men arrived at the van, slapped the driver and woke him up by throwing the remaining booze in the bottle on his face.

Weekend Witness was told by various police sources that the Mid-Illovo constable had denied being drunk on duty to his station commander earlier this week.

According to a Mid-Illovo police source, the constable told the senior officer in a written statement that the bottle was “put between his legs by someone else” when he had passed out.

“When asked why he was asleep in the first place, the constable apparently said he had fallen asleep because he was under heavy medication,” said the source.

This information was corroborated by Community Policing Forum (CPF) members in the ­Mid-Illovo policing sector.

A CPF member said the “drunk” officer had made further claims that three Alexandra police officers had driven the patrol vehicle back to the station on that day.

Heydenrych rubbished this version of events yesterday.

“I put my head through the window; the officer and the van were stinking of booze. No police officers drove his vehicle; when he was awoken, he reversed off,” he said.

Plessislaer police spokesperson Musa Ntombela said a departmental inquiry had been instituted against the officer and he could therefore not comment further.

The South African Police Union (Sapu) and Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said they had not yet established if the constable was one of their members.

Sapu spokesperson Pius Mnikathi questioned the station’s management which, according to him, had failed to properly parade the officer before he was let on duty.

“Duty officers should have inspected the officer’s condition before he was allowed on his shift, and should have checked on him every five to six hours,” Mnikathi said.

“Even if the officer was on medication, he should not be allowed to drive. Why was he even at work in the first place if that was the case?”

Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said they would await the outcome of the internal hearing before commenting.

“At this stage, we cannot confirm if the officer is a Popcru member or not, but if the allegations are factual, it would be gross misconduct,” ­Mamabolo said.

The Democratic Alliance spokesperson on police matters Dianne Kohler-Barnard said the constable was obviously “as drunk as a skunk” and she was “absolutely infuriated” that no breathalyser and blood tests were done

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  drunk

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