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The Sandton police station is under fire – yet again. Now, two police officers are to be investigated for alleged physical assault, attempted extortion and wrongful arrest of a Bryanston resident.
CCTV footage of the incidents show Ashley Cerqueira being pulled over not once, but twice by the same police vehicle within 14 seconds. Two police officers forcefully drag him from his car and pepper-spray him twice.
His alleged crime? Dagga in his vehicle, despite video footage showing that a search of the car turned up nothing in spite of police producing a bag of dagga at the police station later.
This is one of numerous incidents of alleged police corruption in the area in the past six months, and crime forum eBlockwatch is calling on the public to report incidents so that formal cases can be opened against the Sandton police station.
On Sunday May 27, Cerqueira was travelling from Montecasino at about 10.30pm, when he turned into Bryanston Drive on his way home. The marked police vehicle behind him had turned on its blue lights, and he pulled over.
In CCTV footage from a nearby home, Cerqueira is seen being asked to step out of his car, while he and the vehicle are searched. An officer then gets out of the police vehicle to urinate on a wall.
Cerqueira said at the weekend that the officers accused him of being drunk, despite his not having had a drink that night.
“It’s not what you say, it’s what we say,” the officers replied.
He asked to be breathalysed, and said the cops wanted a bribe before they let him go.
He refused and began to record the conversation on his phone. The officers then handed him back his licence and said he should go “before they change their minds”.
The men had no name tags or badges.
CCTV footage outside Cerqueira’s home down the street shows the police using their van to trap him in his driveway, before rushing over to the passenger side of his vehicle to try to get him out.
Cerqueira claims this was when they began asking for his phone.
The Bryanston resident said he phoned his mother in the house to alert her before he opened the window slightly to ask what was going on.
One officer allegedly forced his window down so that he could reach into the car to grab the phone. After Cerqueira put his phone in his pocket, a handcuff was slipped over his right wrist. The officer then unlocked the front door and tried to pull him from the vehicle.
Cerqueira said he held onto the car wheel, before the second officer arrived to help take him from his car. Footage shows them tackling Cerqueira to the ground. One officer rushes to his vehicle to grab a pepper spray. The other stomps on Cerqueira’s leg.
Cerqueira managed to get up and grab onto the main gate in front of his car. The officers then began pepper-spraying him.
He felt a hand in one of his pockets, looking for his phone. However, it was in another pocket and he kicked it inside the gate, towards his mother Nina and his boss, Steve Campbell coming down the driveway. Campbell picked it up.
Nina told The Star that an officer put a hand on her face and pushed her back.
When she too threatened to record the incident, they tried to take her phone away.
Police had not replied to calls from The Star by late on Sunday.