EXCLUSIVE: 'They have made me a cripple' - claims made that police accidentally shot man then dug out the bullet

2018-05-23 07:15
A police shooting victim speaks to News24. (YouTube screen grab)

A police shooting victim speaks to News24. (YouTube screen grab)

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A Soshanguve man is worried that he may never work again after he was shot in the leg a month ago, apparently by police who later realised they had the wrong person.

Following the shooting, police then allegedly removed the bullet as the victim lay in an alleyway, bleeding and reeling from the pain.

The 33-year-old victim, who doesn't want to be named, was walking home with a friend after picking up a pair of shoes from a shoemaker on April 22 when he saw a number of police vehicles in the area.

Unaware that the police were searching for a hijacking suspect, and afraid that he would be arrested for drinking beer in public, he made a run for it.

"I was on my way back from fetching my shoes when we encountered the police," the victim told News24.

"We turned to run because we had an open beer with us. [We were] trying to avoid getting into trouble for public drinking. Then they started shooting at us. I was hit on my leg and I fell down.

READ: North West man shot dead with live ammo during protests - IPID

'Real' suspect's whereabouts

"They put me in handcuffs and asked me where the gun was and I told them that I only had my phone and a bag with my shoes. They searched me and found that I did not have a weapon on me, only what I had told them I had."

He says the police realised they had the wrong person immediately after shooting him.

"The moment I fell down, one officer asked for the handcuffs to be removed because he wanted to confirm if I was the person they were looking for."

At this point the victim also asked police to remove the handcuffs as the community had told them they had the wrong man and that the suspect was hiding in a yard nearby.

Before attending to the suspect they had been informed about, eyewitnesses claim police first cut the victim's trousers and allegedly attempted to remove the bullet.

"I am not sure what it is that they were doing to my leg, because I was a bit out of it by that point. The bullet had made me dizzy... so I am not sure if he was trying to stem the blood flow or trying to remove the bullet."

During the commotion the shoemaker arrived on the scene.

"I found him lying on the ground in handcuffs. I told them that this person had just left my house after fetching his shoes. Why have you shot him on his way home?" said the shoemaker who wanted to remain anonymous.

Mob justice

"We were there when they removed the bullet. They simply tore off his pants and removed the bullet. So I asked them why they were removing the bullet and whether they were doctors."

The shoemaker said the police never responded.

The victim's friend, who also witnessed the shooting and the events that followed, said he saw police cut open the victim's trousers and then use another instrument that looked like medical forceps to remove the bullet.

The victim's sister, who arrived on the scene after the shooting, told News24 that residents had taken matters into their own hands by beating up the real suspect after they had told the police where he was hiding, and the police allegedly did not immediately act on that information. The suspect was eventually arrested.

Both the suspect and the victim were then put in the same ambulance, which only arrived an hour later, according to the victim's sister.

"He was lying there, crying and in pain and he lost a lot of blood because he was lying there for more than an hour," his sister said.

She said that police refused to allow her to rush her brother to hospital, saying it was a crime scene and a police matter.

She also claims that once the ambulance had picked up her brother and the suspect it, did not go straight to a hospital, but instead first went to a depot where ambulances are stationed.

IPID investigating

The victim's mother was turned away from the police station when she tried to open a case on the same day.

"We were coming to open the case because my son was mistakenly shot, so police told us that we can't open this case because it's a police matter," the mother said.

She then turned to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), which has confirmed to News24 that it is investigating the matter.

When approached for comment, police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo also referred News24 to IPID, saying the directorate would handle all enquiries, since the allegations involved police officers.

The victim, who is still in hospital a month after the shooting and who has had multiple operations, is worried that he will not be able to work again.

"Now that this has happened to me - the fact that they have made me a cripple - I do not know how I can ever be able to work again.

"Why did this have to happen to me? I will have to sue them, for sure," he said.

"If I had done something wrong, they would have never removed the handcuffs.

"Even when the real criminal and I were both taken by ambulance to the hospital, he was in handcuffs and I was not."

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Read more on:    police  |  ipid  |  pretoria  |  police brutality

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