Local man traumatised after brutal attack by cops

2018-02-23 13:30
Sheldon Rajah was brutally beaten allegedly by police .

Sheldon Rajah was brutally beaten allegedly by police . (Kerushan Pillay )

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A Scottsville man has described the moment police allegedly put a pistol in his mouth and threatened to “blow his brains out”.

He said he is still traumatised after being brutally beaten by police officers during a terrifying ordeal lasting five hours.

Sheldon Rajah (34), a manager of a security company, said he was taken on a “horror ride” in a police van in the early hours of last Friday morning, beaten and then “left to suffer” at the Pietermaritzburg (Loop Street) police station.

He said he sustained multiple injuries, including two broken ribs, a black eye and several cuts and bruises, and is currently in a neck brace.

Rajah told The Witness on Thursday that he was driving in Raisethorpe late last Thursday night when the incident happened.

“There was a car following me and I slowed down at a robot and it sped up and parked next to me. Then I saw a gun being pointed at me.”

He said he thought he was about to be hijacked by criminals who were impersonating police officers.

“I took off and drove to New Greytown Road. I saw them flashing the blue lights and then pulled over.”

Rajah said he was “pulled out” through the car window by an officer. He said he tried to explain that he had believed they were hijackers, but they did not listen.

He said the two officers then began assaulting him.

Rajah claimed four more police vehicles soon arrived and the police in them also helped beat him.

He said he was put into a police van and driven to Pietermaritzburg police station, where officers continued to beat him.

He was then put back into the police van and taken to a petrol station in Raisethorpe, where they continued beating him.

Rajah said police officers then took him to a “very dark place” where the beatings continued.

He said he was later taken back to the police station and left in a holding cell.

The incident has left Rajah severely traumatised, and he no longer leaves his home. He said he now suffers night terrors. “I can’t work out why this happened. I can’t drive my son anywhere because I’m afraid to leave the house. I keep thinking if they see me they’ll shoot me.

“They hit me all over. At one point they hit me on my mouth and the gold cap on my tooth flew out.”

Rajah alleged that a police officer had even put his firearm in his mouth, saying he was “going to blow my brains out”.

The car he was driving that night has been impounded.

He took a week to formally lay charges against police because his legal team was drafting statements to submit to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). He will also be launching a civil lawsuit against the ministry of police, he said.

Rajah said his attorneys will request video footage from the petrol station he was allegedly beaten at, as well as from the police station.

Police confirmed a case of assault was being investigated.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  police brutality

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