Cop filmed in scuffle acted lawfully - commander

2017-07-08 05:56

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Cape Town - A Lentegeur officer, investigated by police management following an altercation with a woman in the station’s charge office, has been found to not have acted unlawfully or incorrectly, a probe has found.

Mitchells Plain Cluster Commander Major General Gregory Goss on Friday reported back on the incident to Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi, following the incident which took place on January 12.

News24 previously reported on the clip, which shows a woman in a white dress repeatedly shouting "los my uit (leave me alone)", as a police officer tried to grab her hands and move her to a different room. 

A witness posted the video on Facebook, saying that the officer had sworn at the woman, who swore back, whereafter the policeman asked her: "Are you swearing at me?"

Not illegal

The video shows the officer walking towards the woman and trying to grab her arms as she walks backwards. He pushes and pulls the woman, who in turn hits him with her fists.

The officer eventually pulls the woman down a passage and the video clip ends.

Goss said police management had instructed that the matter be investigated and that his conduct was found to not have been illegal or incorrect.

"Steps were not recommended against the member," he confirmed.

'We had to remove her'

The altercation occurred after the arrest of a teenager in Morgen Village for drug possession, Goss told Mkongi.

"He was transported to the police station. On their arrival, while processing the suspect, the victim in this video is seen insulting or provoking… [the officer]," he said. 

"Because the community service centre is an area where we need to serve members of the public, he at first wanted to ask her to move out of the CSC so that service delivery could continue. However, there was a scuffle between the member and the woman. 

"She continued to swear at the police official and, ultimately, we had to remove her from the CSC so that service delivery could continue".

The woman was charged with crimen injuria, assault of a police official and resisting arrest.

The matter is still being heard in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate's Court and the woman has been put on the court’s diversion programme.

She is expected back in the dock on July 28.

'You failed that guy'

Mitchells Plain Cluster Community Police Forum chairperson Lucinda Evans said she had been horrified by the incident.

"But I want to ask where the female officers who worked on that shift that day were. This member has been failed by all of us," she said.

Evans said there should be more advocating for women officers at police stations to deal with incidents such as this.

Mkongi said police needed to revisit the rules on how women should be treated in such a situation.

"But the police officers that were here on that day...they failed [their colleague]. He was alone when confronted by that situation. They [were not there] to intervene in a civil way and remove the lady from that.

Mkongi said in a statement that a strong message should be sent to those police officers regarding the treatment of women and children. 

"They should be treated with dignity and respect to encourage them to be free to visit and report incidents of abuse," he said.

Read more on:    saps  |  bongani mkongi  |  cape town

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