Cape cops accused of brutality after storming house and allegedly shooting dog
Cape Town - A Bonteheuwel family is in shock after police stormed their residence without a search warrant, and allegedly destroyed and ransacked their property, while looking for illegal merchandise and activities.
Seven months’ pregnant Shaneley Barends said she was with her cousin’s children on Friday, after 7pm, when police barged into their property, continuously pepper sprayed their dog, and eventually opened fire and killed it.
“The police were next door for a couple of minutes and they could not go in there, and they came to us. Upon asking them what they were looking for, they said we should not interfere with their job and that they had a search warrant.
“They said they were acting on information that we were hiding stuff. The way they treated us, like we were criminals. I have lost faith in police, they were supposed to protect us. I feel like I can't trust them anymore,” she said.
Barends said when the property owner attempted to open a case at Bishop Lavis Police Station, he was told that they “could not be helped with opening a case against police who were doing their job”.
According to Barends, the dog - which was shot allegedly during the incident - was declared dead by the SPCA the following day.
Cape of Good Hope SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abrahams said SPCA inspectors collected the remains of the dog from the residence in Bonteheuwel and were in the process of investigating the allegations.
Police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut confirmed that the police crime operation was conducted in Bishop Lavis on Friday evening, and the incident was linked to this operation.
“Allegations of inappropriate behaviour by our members or brutality towards people or animals are not taken lightly, and any person with a legitimate complaint against police is encouraged to approach the management of Bishop Lavis Police Station so that an investigation can be instituted,” he said.
Traut said comments on the merits of the matter will be reserved until an investigation has been concluded.
Ward Councillor Angus McKenzie said it was this sort of behaviour that had the ability to collapse all the hard work the community had achieved in Bonteheuwel, in reducing gang-related crime and activity.
“I want to categorically state that building strong relationships with the community is what overcomes crime, not a heavy-handed approach. It is these very people that are requested to provide tip-offs and information, to stop illegal activities, that are treated in this manner.
I will be addressing this issue directly with the Department of Community Safety and will be assisting the family to lay a formal complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid),” he said.
McKenzie called on the local community policing forum (CPF) to hold the police accountable.
“If this is just left to gather dust on the pile and no action is forthcoming from the CPF, we must accept that whatever we have achieved thus far is in danger,” he said.