The affordable education loan option
Pretoria - She said “open the boom” but the security guard heard her say “you baboon”. Next thing she was arrested, driven in the back of a police van to the Sunnyside police station and locked up for the next five hours in a communal cell with about eight men.
Now Deborah Lynn Greaves of Centurion has won R50 000 from the police.
Greaves, 50, of Centurion instituted a R300 000 damages claim against the minister of police following her ordeal.
Her nightmare started when she was due to attend a training course at a conference facility in Sunnyside.
She tried to park inside a basement parking garage but was told by the security guard that parking was reserved and she should park in the street.
Greaves said she had previously parked inside, even though she did not have an access card.
That day, she parked in the street but when she returned the next day, she again tried to park inside.
Again she was denied entry, but this time, she said, the security guard was aggressive and screamed at her. He wanted her to park outside.
She phoned a colleague to arrange parking inside the parking garage for her, as she felt her car was unsafe outside. The colleague handed her his access card so she could drive into the basement.
But when she left that afternoon, the security guard refused to open the boom for her to exit. Greaves said she told him to “open the boom” and that “the way in which you do things is stupid”.
He apparently mistook what she told him as “you are a baboon” and that he was “stupid”.
Nevertheless, he opened the boom and she drove off.
She returned the following day and while attending training she was called by the course co-ordinator. He told her the police were waiting for her outside.
She was told by two policemen that she was under arrest.
Greaves was threatened that if she did not get into the police van, she would be cuffed.
The police drove her at high speed to the police station.
She said she was terrified and was being thrown around in the back of the van.
At the police station she was told that she was being held for crimen injuria.
She had to spend five terrifying hours in a cell with men, under conditions she described as filthy. Her lawyer had her freed on a warning at about five that afternoon.
Greaves said she was so traumatised that she had to receive counselling from a psychiatrist, who diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The police initially denied all the allegations made by Greaves in papers before the Pretoria High Court.
Her lawyer, Konrad Rontgen, was ready to proceed on Monday, but just before the case was called the police indicated they would settle the matter by paying Greaves R50 000.
Greaves said she was happy it was over, but she was disappointed with the settlement amount.
“This does not compensate me for the humiliation, fear and embarrassment I had to endure. I still get nightmares and I become extremely fearful when I see a security boom.
“This was totally unnecessary and now the taxpayer has to pay for the wrongs of the police. All I wanted to do was to park.”
The charge levelled against her was that of crimen injuria, but the prosecutor refused to entertain this and dismissed the case.