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Ghost squad are ‘bullies’, driver claims

Industry news
Cape Town - A young man has laid charges against a member of the Metro Police Ghost Squad after he claims he was assaulted and verbally abused by the officer last week.

Zaahid Carr, 20, from Thornton says he was pulled over after he came from a street racing event at Killarney Raceway last Wednesday after 10pm.

The traumatised young man and his uncle were handcuffed and locked up at Bothasig Police Station before being taken to Parow cop shop where they spent the night.

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INCIDENT: A video of a Metro Police Ghost Squad member 'assaulting and verbally abusing a man' 
has gone viral on social media.

“I attended and took part in Robot Racing at Killarney Raceway,” explains Zaahid, who drives a Golf GTi.

Blue lights

“En route home via the N7... a vehicle came speeding up behind me. His lights were very bright and he proceeded to drive very close to my car. To avoid a possible accident, I accelerated in the same lane in order to pass the cars in the right lane.

“Seconds later, I saw blue lights flashing in my rear view mirror... I quickly realised that the unmarked [black VW] wanted me to pull over onto the side of the road.”

When Officer John Bezuidenhout pulled him over, he says the officer roughed him up “WWE-style” and pepper-sprayed him in the face.

“While getting out of my vehicle, he grabbed me by my sweater, threw me against my vehicle and told me I know what I did. He forced my arms so high up against my back, that it was hurting,” says Zaahid.

“I informed him he was hurting me. He told me to stop resisting. He then told me to ‘shut the f*** up’.

“I couldn’t handle the pain anymore and tried to move my arm to alleviate the pressure.

“This then caused the policeman to turn me around and take out the pepper spray, insisting again that I am resisting, and he proceeds to spray it all in my eyes and my face.

“He then loosened his grip on my arm and put me in a headlock - WWE wrestling style.”

In a video, recorded by Zaahid’s uncle who witnessed the incident, Zaahid is being held in a headlock by Bezuidenhout and his uncle is asking him to “just relax”, when Zaahid asks if he can wipe his eyes which were burning.

Bezuidenhout's female partner then threatens to “lock up” the uncle who is making the recording.

At the Bothasig cop shop, Zaahid says he and his uncle were held in a cell with six other people.

There, he alleges the abuse continued.

“He shouted in front of everyone that he should’ve shot me twice in the chest and just left me there as he always carries ‘one bullet up’,” he says.

Zaahid was released the next afternoon and charges against him were dropped.

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, JP Smith, says their office has not received a formal complaint against Bezuidenhout.

“If such a complaint is received, it will be investigated independently. Alternatively, the complainant can also lay criminal charges if they so choose,” he says.

“While it is best that the facts are clarified during any disciplinary or legal processes that may follow, the officer denies the version of events that has been publicised and has stated the following: The complainant was pulled over for reckless and negligent driving and disregarded a lawful instruction to pull over and attempted to flee the scene.”

The officer, meanwhile, has laid charges of assault and intimidation following a number of threats directed at him on social media.

Meanwhile, the video of the incident has gone viral on social media, where other people have complained about run-ins with the same cop and his alleged bully tactics.

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