Boy, 12, strip-searched in public

2017-02-17 10:38
Mountain Rise police say strip search and harassment incident is an isolated incident.

Mountain Rise police say strip search and harassment incident is an isolated incident. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - A Northdale child, who was forced to strip down on the roadside while police searched him, said he was left “traumatised and embarrassed” this weekend.

The mother of the 12-year-old boy said her son had “lost all faith in the police” after two Mountain Rise police officers made him unbutton his pants on Bombay Road, exposing his genitals during an unwarranted strip search.

uMgungundlovu North cluster spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim confirmed a case of crimen injuria was opened at the Mountain Rise police station against the officers.

Ebrahim added that management at the station have given instructions for a disciplinary case to be registered against the two police officers and an investigation into the allegations will be launched.

The mother, whose identity cannot be revealed to protect her child, said she sent her son to his father who was at a relative’s house nearby on Sunday afternoon.

Kept looking back

“When he was returning, his father told him that he would stand on the verandah and watch him walk home.

“As he was walking, he kept looking back up the road to see if his dad was still in sight. When he realised that his father was out of sight he started walking faster.

“That was when a police van stopped across the road and one of the officers asked my son why he kept looking back,” said the mother.

She said the police officers instructed the boy to cross the road and come to them.

“The police coincidentally reversed into my son’s friend’s driveway.

“They asked him what he had dropped on the floor because he kept looking back and my son explained that he didn’t drop anything but was looking at his father,” she said.

The mother alleged the police suspected her son had dropped drugs on the road when he saw the police van.

“They told him to take off his shoes and unbutton his pants so they can strip search him. They shoved their hands down his pants to feel for drugs. He wasn’t wearing underwear and his privates were exposed. He was even more embarrassed because his friend’s sister was outside her house and saw this happening.”

The mother said when the police could not find any drugs on the boy they allegedly started verbally abusing him. “They called him a ‘f***ing p**s lightie’ and told him that they will f**k him up if he didn’t tell them where he threw the drugs,” she said.

She said when they were finished searching him, her son struggled to put on his shoes as it had started raining.

Crying and shaking

She said the police officers continued to harass the boy and asked him what grade he was in.

When the youngster revealed what grade he was in at school, she said the police allegedly started laughing at him and called him stupid for not being able to put on his shoe.

“My son came back home crying and shaking,” she said.

“He told me through his tears what had happened,” said the mother.

The mother has since opened a criminal case against the two police officers at the Mountain Rise police station.

Ebrahim said a more detailed statement would be taken late yesterday afternoon.

“The South African Police Service does not condone the actions of these members. This type of behaviour is unacceptable in the police service.

“Whilst on one side one or two are bringing disrepute to the station, there are on the other side the majority of members that are working to the best of their ability to fight crime. This is an isolated incident which will be investigated properly at the station,” said Ebrahim.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  police brutality

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