‘Police beat me for cooldrink money ‘

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Pretoria - A 20-year-old man from Mamelodi East was allegedly assaulted by two police officers after refusing to give them “money for cooldrinks”.

Glen Radingwana said he was walking back from a tavern on Sunday night where he’d been drinking and getting updates on Nelson Mandela’s death when two officers in uniform stopped him.

Radingwana, who was holding an empty beer bottle, was arrested for public drinking. The officers drove along a few more streets arresting two more people also for public drinking.

But after driving about 1km the officers stopped the van in Hector Pieterson Street and told the men they would release them in exchange for cooldrink money. “We also need a favour,” the officers apparently said.

“I told them that this was not right and we started arguing,” Radingwana told Pretoria News.

Radingwana said he attempted to walk away from the van but one of the officers broke off a plank from a beer crate and began to hit him on the head. The other officer held on to his belt and started pulling him by his private parts.

A bleeding Radingwana managed to escape to his shack.

Radingwana had blood-shot eyes, swollen lips and several bruises on his face when the Pretoria News interviewed him on Monday. There were blood stains all over his khaki trousers.

“All I want now is for these officers to be identified and to look them in the eyes,” Radingwana said.

When Radingwana went to Mamelodi East police station to open a case he was allegedly told: “It is too early, come around at 8am when officers are on duty.” When Radingwana returned later, a male officer took him to an office where he allegedly tried to talk him out of opening a case.

Joe Mphela, a ward 97 committee member who handles safety issues, said the local police finally assisted Radingwana with opening a case when he went with him to the station.

Ward 97 counsellor Nkele Malapane was shocked to hear of the incident. He said it was disheartening that police brutality still occurred in the townships, although such an incident had not occurred for some time.

Communications officer for the Mamelodi cluster, Warrant Officer Michael Mbewe, said yesterday that a case of assault against the police officers was opened and the matter was being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

On Wednesday, a frustrated Mphela said the officers should be charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm instead of common assault.

lerato.sibanda@inl.co.za

Pretoria News


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