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Rustenburg - A Daily Sun journalist was assaulted by police after taking photos of them allegedly accepting a bribe in Rustenburg, North West, the newspaper said on Monday.
Deputy editor Reggy Moalusi said Ricky Dire was arrested and assaulted on Saturday after he was found taking photos of police receiving bribes from Chinese shop owners.
The shop owners had called Dire complaining that police had been harassing them and constantly asking for bribes.
“They (police) assaulted him and they were insulting him,” Moalusi said.
“We got our lawyers involved... and he was only released five hours later.”
He said Dire's cellphone was allegedly confiscated and the pictures deleted.
The police also threatened to keep Dire in police custody until Monday morning.
Police spokeswoman Sergeant Kealeboga Molale said the arresting officers laid charges of intimidation, crimen injuria and resisting arrest against Dire.
“The (journalist) was arrested because he was insulting the police and when they tried to arrest him he resisted,” she said.
“The incident happened at a complex where there is a bottle store. The journalist was allegedly drunk.”
Molale said police were not aware of the alleged bribe incident.
Moalusi said the newspaper had spoken to Dire who claimed he was sober.
“He also says he never resisted arrest.
“They asked him whether he was fighting them, he said no and if they deem it he is fighting (sic), they can arrest him and charge him, something they did.”
North West premier Thandi Modise called on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to probe the alleged harassment and assault.
“Police have to work very hard on their image to inspire and regain public confidence after recent tragedies experienced in our province viewed by some as acts of police brutality,” Modise said in a statement.
“They should realise that their conduct is under public scrutiny and strive to be above reproach.”