Cape Town – "...We will put [you] in the cells with the murderers and the rapists and then you will see what happens to you tonight."
These were the words Western Cape traffic officials allegedly told Zainodien Allie shortly after he was arrested.
In an interview with News24, Allie said his ordeal started at a petrol station in Belmore, Cape Town on Monday when his uncle, Yusuf Davids, was pulled over for using his cellphone while driving.
Davids contacted Allie for help and he rushed over to the scene to assist.
According to Allie, the traffic officers wanted Davids's cellphone and, when Allie arrived, he took the cellphone and removed the sim card and battery, before handing it to the traffic officials.
He thought the ordeal was over but, as he left the scene, the traffic officials stopped him and demanded that he hand over his phone too.
One of them tried to remove his key from the ignition.
"He said I must get out of the vehicle, but I asked him what I did wrong. The second officer pulled my hand through the window and bent it, while the other one took my phone," he said.
Allie asked the officers if he could call his wife, but the officers refused and told him to put his hands behind his back as they tried to handcuff him.
"They picked me up and threw me on the floor," he said.
According to Allie, the officers arrested him without informing him of his rights and took him to Lansdowne police station.
He asked for water, but Allie said: "They opened the tap and made me drink water like a dog."
Allie was released the same day, after his family members rushed to the police station. He reported the case at the Philippi police station on Tuesday.
"They made it seem like they are untouchable. I have no respect for these officials anymore."
Allie, who was recently appointed as the chairperson of the Community Policing Forum in Ward 48 in Hanover Park, said he suffers from back and chest pain.
His daughter, Bashiera Allie, who posted the video of the incident online, described the incident as "utterly disgraceful".
"We just want to get justice for what they did. We want them removed as traffic officials because that's not how you treat anybody.
"I felt like crying and it was very emotional seeing my father behind bars. He was not allowed to speak to anyone [or] allowed to eat," she said.
She added that her father did not deserve to be locked in a cell with other detainees.
"Seriously, my dad is a decent guy. My dad doesn't have a criminal record and he has never been on the wrong side of the law."
Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith said an investigation into the incident was launched and that other officers had a different version.
Smith said the officers claimed the person they had pulled over refused to co-operate and locked himself in his car.
He then apparently phoned someone and that person took the phone through the window and sped off, Smith said.
"They eventually pulled him over, there was a disagreement and they wanted to arrest him. He resisted arrest and that led to physical confrontation."
Smith added that violent behaviour from staff members was not tolerated. If they are found guilty, action will be taken.
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