City of Joburg finds that officers who restrained drunk driver in viral video were 'acting within their scope'

2019-07-28 14:49
(Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

(Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

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The City of Joburg (COJ) has found that the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officials who were captured forcefully restraining a drunk driver - to obtain blood samples - in a viral video were "acting within the course and scope of their duties".

"Despite no formal complaint being received against any of the officers involved, I immediately instructed an internal investigation into what had transpired before, during and after the part of the incident which was captured on video, ensuring our residents that any wrongdoing would be acted upon," MMC for Public Safety, Michael Sun said in a statement on Sunday.

"From our internal investigation it was found that the JMPD officers involved had acted within the course and scope of their duties. There will, therefore, be no disciplinary actions taken unless any further evidence contradicting these findings come forward," he added.

 WATCH: Woman screams as JMPD officers restrain her for blood alcohol test - but City of Joburg insists its 'legal'

This comes after the video showing a woman screaming inside an office with some people in uniform around her raised criticism on the way the test was done.

The COJ acknowledged that the video was disturbing, however, claimed that their findings following an investigation painted a different picture.

"In an effort to combat drunken driving, we could not succeed if we did not enforce and uphold law and order. This, at times, also means compelling persons to follow a lawful instruction, ultimately, for the protection of all residents," Sun explained.

COJ investigations revealed that the driver in question was stopped at a road block by JMPD and the Douglasdale police on July 5, 2019 where a breathalyser test showed the driver was over the legally allowed limit.

The driver was subsequently taken to the Douglasdale Police Station in a JMPD patrol vehicle for further processing. This is when she used her phone to try and get assistance.

"On arrival at the Douglasdale SAPS, the driver was taken to a suitable facility where a nursing sister was on duty to assist with drawing blood. The driver became emotional and refused to co-operate.

"Shortly after, two males arrived at the police station, identifying themselves as the boyfriend of the driver and a friend. The two friends initially tried to reason with the driver to cooperate but were not successful, they were at that stage asked to leave the room," Sun explained.

A JMPD officer removed a firearm from one of the friends for safety reasons.

An hour passed and the driver still refused to cooperate with the nursing sister who would be drawing the blood samples.

"The JMPD officer, in complying with relevant laws, in particular Section 64F of the South African Police Services Act of 1995, Section 36 of the Criminal Procedures Act of 1977 and Section 65 of the National Road Traffic Act of 1996 which it is stipulated that, "No person shall refuse that a specimen of blood, or a specimen of breath, be taken of him or her", had no other alternative but to use appropriate and minimal force to restraint the driver so the nursing sister could withdraw the blood sample.

"The restraining was necessary for the police officers to perform their duty and also to ensure the safety of those in the room as well as the driver’s own safety while the nurse withdraws blood," Sun added.

The driver signed off the relevant documentation and was detained for driving under the influence of alcohol.

"Neither the driver nor any person sustained any injuries during the process. To date, JMPD have not yet received any formal complaints against the officers involved in this incident," Sun concluded.

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