The national police commissioner has welcomed the dismissal of a police officer in the Western Cape accused of assaulting a naked man in a street.
Dismissing a Cape Town police officer accused of assaulting a naked man sends a clear message about desired police conduct, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said on Thursday.
She thanked the Western Cape police for the disciplinary hearing that led to the dismissal of 43-year-old David Gunn, a warrant officer at Cape Town central police station. His co-accused in the criminal case, 46-year-old Warrant Officer Gerrit Januarie, resigned before disciplinary action could be taken against him.
Phiyega said the men did not belong in the South African Police Service and welcomed the “swift and decisive” action against them. “The conduct of these members clearly goes against all values that the SAPS represent and will not be tolerated.”
In March, a woman in a building in central Cape Town used her cellphone to record the man, who is Nigerian, being assaulted in the street below. The video clip went viral on social media after it was posted online.
It shows two police officers handcuffing the man, watched by two men wearing neon-yellow city safety unit vests. One of the officers removes the man’s pants, leaving him exposed in the road. The footage shows the man being punched and kicked in the groin, while his arms pinned to his sides.
‘That’s not how you treat a person’
The shocked voices of others in the building can be heard on the video. A woman opens a window and shouts: “Police brutality! That’s not how you treat a person. Why are you kicking him? Why are you kicking him?” One of the officers points at her and walks towards the building.
Gunn and Januarie were subsequently charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court. They were each granted R1 500 bail with stringent conditions. They would be back in court next Friday.
The public was urged to continue reporting violence or corruption by police officers. – Sapa