Muizenberg couple to appear in court after toddler ran on to beach
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Cape Town – A Muizenberg couple has to appear in court on August 6 after their toddler ran on to Muizenberg beach, forcing them to fetch her in contravention of level 4 lockdown regulations.
According to Liam Bulgen, he was arrested and put in a police van on Monday morning while his fiancée, Tereza Cervinkova, was allegedly pushed into another police vehicle without a car seat while breastfeeding and driven to Muizenberg police station.
The car Cervinkova and their baby were travelling in was allegedly driven by a police officer who wasn't wearing a mask. Bulgen claims another policeman had told him he was being "stupid for having my child out in public because she could die".
Bulgen posted on Facebook while being driven to the police station: "I have been arrested because I ran after my daughter after she ran on to the beach. I am in a van.
"My partner is currently on the way to the Muizenberg police station in a car without a car seat. She was pushed into the car while breastfeeding."
Under the new level 4 Covid-19 regulations, people are not allowed on beaches or in parks, not even between 6am and 9am, when they are allowed to exercise within a 5km radius of their homes.
Western Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa told the Cape Times on Tuesday: "This office confirms the arrest of two adult persons (man and woman), aged 38 and 36, in Muizenberg yesterday for contravention of the Disaster Management Act regulations.
"They were briefly detained at Muizenberg SAPS and warned to appear in court on August 6. The arrests were effected on Muizenberg beach by SAPS officials."
Liam Bulgen, in a Facebook post, said this photo is of their daughter being fed in the police station. 'We wanted to temporarily hand her over to family care due to the health and safety risks that she was exposed to, but were not allowed to,' he said. Picture: Facebook / Liam Bulgen
Bulgen and Cervinkova live about 400m from the Muizenberg beachfront and went for a walk at about 8.25am on Monday on the boardwalk next to the sea.
"We live quite close to the beach and arrived at about 8.30am and we were walking along the Muizenberg boardwalk in the middle of the promenade.
"My fiancée wanted some space so I thought I would just stop with my child who is 21-months-old and take her out of the carrier," Bulgen told EWN.
"As I put her down out of the carrier, she literally just hopped over on to the beach and she managed to get about 1.5 metres on to the sand. I ran after her and grabbed her.
"She made a scene. My partner came back because she heard her crying. We were literally in the process of dragging my child off the sand when we got arrested."
Bulgen said the police captain told them at the station they were charged for being on the beach, "even though we explained to him that we were just trying to pick up our child who was having a tantrum".
"While we were walking to the police vehicle, one officer told me I was stupid for having my child out in public because she could die."
He said they "insisted Cervinkova get into the other police vehicle while she was breastfeeding, no safety belt on, and the police officer driving the vehicle was not wearing a mask".
After their ordeal, he posted on Facebook: "We have arrived home safe. Thank you everyone for your support. Our lawyer has advised that we can share the story with the news media platforms because of the way the matter was handled.
"This photo is of our daughter being fed in the police station. We wanted to temporarily hand her over to family care due to the health and safety risks that she was exposed to at the police station, and were not allowed to remove her from the police station because there would apparently be further repercussions. We are appearing in court to have our say on the 6th August."
A Facebook user said in response: "This shows dictatorial behaviour and total lack of humanity from a poorly educated and trained SAPS."