The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is investigating police brutality after a man in Kensington, Cape Town, was allegedly dragged by a vehicle while handcuffed over the weekend.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating police brutality after a man in Kensington, Cape Town, was allegedly dragged by a vehicle while handcuffed over the weekend.
A preliminary inquiry indicates that three police officers are under investigation, spokesperson for the police watchdog, Robbie Raburabu, told the Mail & Guardian.
In a video that has gone viral since the incident took place on Saturday, two police officers attached to the Kensington police station can be seen standing behind a police van parked in the middle of a road. Standing with them is the man, handcuffed to what seems to be the top handlebar at the back of the police van.
Residents can be heard screaming for the release of the suspect. Shortly thereafter, the police start to drive off while dragging the man behind the vehicle.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape acknowledged the incident and the subsequent investigation into what happened.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said the officers in the video were conducting crime prevention patrols when the incident took place. The man was arrested after police officers found illegal substances, including cocaine and Mandrax tablets, in his possession.
“Disgruntled community members started pelting the police officers with stones whilst the suspect was already handcuffed,” Swartbooi said, adding that “the SAPS members drove to a safe area where they placed the suspect into the holding area of the SAPS vehicle”.
Swartbooi said the police were “forced to [retreat] to a safe distance” because one officer was injured when a brick hit his head.
“This resulted in a case of public violence opened against the suspect and disgruntled community members,” he said.
It is not clear from the video footage when exactly the officers were pelted with stones.
Swartbooi could not confirm whether the police members had been suspended.
According to Ipid, an investigation does not automatically suspend officers. It is also a matter that would be considered by SAPS and not them.
Because the investigation is still at its infancy, the watchdog cannot make any recommendations to the police at this moment, Raburabu said.
Police brutality came under scrutiny in July when a video showing officers beating up three men on the side of the N1 near Fourways in Gauteng went viral on social media.
It later emerged that the officers were members of the police protection and security services unit who were part of Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s security detail. Eight members were arrested and are out on bail.
At the time of the incident, the national police commissioner, Fannie Masemola, described the conduct of the VIP protection unit members as “quite concerning”.
To “rectify” the incident, Masemola said he had directed the divisional commissioner of protection and security services, including the human resources development, to identify areas to “retrain” and “talk” to members of protection services.
“Do sessions with them and go and talk to them to improve the relations between them and the community [and], at the same time, ask the communities to work and cooperate with the police at all times.”
Masemola said discussions would take place in all provinces.