Commissioner orders probe into police dog attack

National police commissioner Jackie Selebi ordered an immediate inquiry on Tuesday into alleged police brutality after a man was mauled by a police dog, then arrested and shackled to a hospital bed, his spokesperson said.

Senior Superintendent Selby Bokaba said the Provincial Commissioner of Mpumalanga, Eric Nkabinde, would oversee the inquiry. Selebi regarded the probe as a matter of priority.

The incident happened on July 10 when, Titus Mahlatse alleges, a policeman confronted him at a taxi rank in Secunda and accused him of stealing.

Mahlatse alleges the policeman then handcuffed him and set the dog on him.
He was then taken to Evander hospital and shackled to a bed. Bokaba said the police report stated that detectives were acting on information that an armed robbery was planned near the rank and that when Mahlatse came under suspicion he ran off into an area of tall grass and dongas and the dog was released to apprehend him.

Bokaba said: “We sincerely regret the injuries suffered by the victim. It is not police policy to treat anyone this way. No matter what they might have done or what crime they might have committed, the proper and due process of law must be carried out.

“The shackle was removed as soon as we heard about it but we cannot immediately say this is police brutality since we are still going to investigate what exactly transpired.”

The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) will conduct its own investigation.

ICD head Karen McKenzie told SABC news: “This action cannot be tolerated and despite what the suspect had done no one deserves to be treated like this.” - Sapa

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