Police brutality a ‘violation of human rights’

The assault of a Cape Town grandmother, allegedly by police, is unfortunate and unacceptable, says Parliament’s police portfolio committee.

“Incidents like this go against every code of policing and [are] tantamount to violation of human rights. Arrests need to be conducted in a manner respectful of one’s dignity,” said committee chairperson Francois Beukman today.

He said the incident in Kraaifontein was disconcerting, especially in the wake of the launch of 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children.

Action must be taken against any police member involved in brutality, he added.

A 45-year-old Cape Town sergeant was suspended today pending an investigation into a video capturing the assault.

Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said the officers, seen manhandling and assaulting a woman in full view of the public, were based at the Kraaifontein police station.

Roseline Appolis, 50, opened a criminal case yesterday after police asked her to.

“Subsequent to this, a decision was taken to suspend one of the members immediately as part of the steps management have taken in response to the issue,” said Kinana.

The matter would be handed to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

“We want to reiterate our position as an organisation, that what we saw in the video footage is completely unacceptable within the culture and philosophy of the SAPS,” said Kinana.

Internal disciplinary procedures would be brought against those involved.

The video has been watched over 20 600 times on YouTube since an eNCA reporter uploaded it yesterday. The reporter posted an explanatory note: “On 23 November 50-year-old Roseline Appolis was assaulted by police”.

He said Appolis was believed to have been trying to break up a fight after police slapped her daughter.

“Appolis was then herself arrested, kept in a cell for two days, and then appeared in court,” the reporter said in his note.

At the start of the 21-second video clip, Appolis is on the ground. A man, wearing what appears to be a police bulletproof vest over civilian clothing, seems to be trying to handcuff her.

A second man, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, then stands on her head. A third man, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, roughly pulls Appolis up by the waistband of her jeans, helped by the man wearing the bulletproof vest.

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