Esethu Mcinjana, 23 was arrested for “taking a selfie” in Sea Point. Picture: Supplied
Esethu Mcinjana, 23 was arrested for “taking a selfie” in Sea Point. Picture: Supplied

#EsethuMcinjana: Sea Point selfie arrest part of 'American syndrome', says HRC

By Vincent Cruywagen Time of article published May 27, 2019

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Cape Town - The Human Rights commissioner has lashed out at police following the incident in which a woman was woman arrested last week for “taking a selfie” in Sea Point.

Esethu Mcinjana, 23 was arrested for “taking a selfie” in Sea Point and said she had never felt so humiliated, adding that she wanted the police to pay for her traumatic experience.

Recalling the incident on May 19, Mcinjana said: “I’m going to sue the police. I have already talked with lawyers on Friday.

“Last Sunday I went for a job interview in Sea Point and was taking selfies. I was the only black person in the area. White people were jogging and playing with their dogs.

“Two police officers came straight to me and accused me of being part of a gang who stole from cars in the area. The police didn't have any proof for why they accused me of being a criminal. I even tried to hand the police an email to show I was there for an interview. But the officer said no one interviews a person on a Sunday.”

Once the police officers searched her bag she took the cellphone, video recorded the officers and posted it on social media. Mcinjana was arrested as a suspect in connection with a spate of car robberies in the area.

“The police officers found a gate remote in my bag. I told them it was not working and that I used it as a key holder. The night in the police cells was a traumatic experience. I have been humiliated for just taking a selfie as a black person in a white suburb,” Mcinjana said.

Human Rights commissioner Chris Nissen said: “We are seeing an American syndrome where every black person walking, jogging, driving late and taking selfies in white areas is seen as suspicious. Being locked up in a police cell must have been a traumatic experience for this young woman.”

Cosatu’s provincial secretary Malvern de Bruyn said: “We condemn this incident in the strongest terms. We expect that the police officers who were at fault here will be dealt with.”

Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said: “An investigation has been instituted. If any police official is found to have transgressed, decisive action will be taken."


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Cape Argus

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