Reegan Naidoo, 32, who was awaiting his second child’s birth in December, was arrested by police allegedly for no reason, taken into custody where he is said by police to have choked on a pie and was taken to hospital, where he died.
Durban -The last annual report released by police watchdog the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) showed an increase in the number of deaths in police custody nationally, with KwaZulu-Natal leading the pack.

In the next few weeks, Ipid is expected to release its 2016/2017 annual report on the number of people who have died in custody and as a result of police action.

The 2014/2015 report indicated that 54 people died in police custody and 108 died as a result of police action in KZN.

Meanwhile, 32-year-old Reegan Naidoo, whose family believe he was tortured and died at the hands of Chatsworth police last week - will become another statistic in the 2018/2019 Ipid annual report.

His family were told by police he was taken to RK Khan Hospital at 4 am last Wednesday after choking on a pie while in custody. He died at the hospital.

However, the family are not convinced of this and said Naidoo was arrested for no reason while on his way to a local garage and then brought back to his home while in handcuffs and slapped around there in the presence of his six-year-old daughter before being hauled off to the Chatsworth police station.

According to a relative when Reegan’s father went to find him at the police station shortly after the police left with him, he was told to wait.

“His father was there from that evening until 5 am on Wednesday. He went home to refresh and went back at 8 am and was told his son choked on a pie that police had bought him. He didn’t eat pies; he only liked home-cooked meals,” said the relative.

He said Naidoo and his wife were expecting a second child in December and he was the breadwinner providing for his mother and father as well as his own family, working odd jobs.

“We want to see footage of the interrogation; we want answers. When we went to identify his body, his clothes were torn and tattered. Why? What is more disappointing is that they [police] say they took him to hospital at 4 am. They did not have the decency to tell us they were taking him there.”

The relative said Naidoo’s daughter who witnessed him being slapped about while in handcuffs was still traumatised.

“His funeral was on Saturday and everyone who spoke about him said he always had a smile on his face. He was not a troublemaker”.

He said that on the day the family were told about Naidoo’s death, Police Minister Bheki Cele contacted them and said he had been informed of the incident.

The family had hired a private pathologist, who conducted a post-mortem on Friday before the funeral and they were awaiting the results.

The matter is being investigated by Ipid, whose spokesperson Moses Dlamini said they were still investigating, and there had been no arrests.

Daily News