'Racist' police officer in court on crimen injuria charges

2018-06-06 12:54

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Police officer Captain JM Henrico made his first appearance in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, facing a charge of crimen injuria after allegedly calling his subordinates the k-word.

After appearing briefly in the dock, Henrico's case was postponed to June 13 for the disclosure of the docket.

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), which has been approached by several police officers to assist them with a watching brief, was also present in court.

In a statement, LHR said the complainants in the matter have accused Henrico of referring to them by the k-word and verbally harassing them.

"Black police officers at the Pretoria police station have filed various internal and criminal complaints against Captain Henrico for numerous acts of racism against them," said LHR.

It says the complaints date back to 2016. 

Prosecution offers hope, sends a message

"Some police officials also allege that complainants face further victimisation after opening internal departmental and criminal cases."

LHR said this case represents one of numerous cases filed by police officers testifying to acts of racism prevalent in police stations across the country.

"The officers and their union representatives have been fighting for the enforcement of procedures and appropriate measures against persons accused of such offences, including related remedial action to ensure that it is properly addressed within the police station for over two years."

NPA move offers hope

LHR said the National Prosecution Authority's decision to proceed with a criminal trial in this matter offers hope for the officials and sends a strong message that racism has serious consequences.

"This is taking place in the context of a segregated and racially divided past in which the South African police were the enforcers of policies of segregation and discrimination against the majority of black people in this country."

LHR attorney Wayne Ncube said: "Racism has no place in our post-democratic South Africa, particularly not in the very institutions charged with protecting the rights of all South Africans and being the custodians of the equality clause of our Constitution."

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Read more on:    hrc  |  crime  |  racism

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