Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court has found the minister of police liable for damages suffered by a Mitchells Plain family after several police officers stormed into their home during a party they hosted four years ago, randomly assaulting them and guests, before killing their son’s friend.
While an amount of damages was not decided, the court found yesterday that the police’s actions were aimed at seeking revenge for the alleged treatment they received when they went to the house to request that the volume of the music be turned down.
New Tafelsig couple, Caroline and Martin Misrool, threw the surprise party for their son at their home on May 7, 2010.
According to the evidence before court, a police officer arrived after midnight, claiming they had received reports of loud music.
Caroline Misrool told him she would sort it out and the policeman left. As he left, however, she noticed a second police officer standing at the front entrance, pointing a firearm at one of her children.
Chaos broke out and soon more policemen arrived.
Guests and members of the Misrool family were assaulted and crockery and furniture damaged until a shot was heard coming from the kitchen.
One of the guests, Nazier Africa, lay bleeding on the floor with a gunshot wound to his head and standing over him was one of the policemen.
Six people were arrested, but the charges were later withdrawn.
The Misrools and some of their guests later instituted an action against the minister for the actions of the officers.
The police countered that the guests were wild and threatened them. However, in yesterday’s judgment, Acting Judge Boet Smit rejected the police’s claims. “… I reject as false the evidence of (the police) that the police were threatened and find that they assaulted Mr Misrool and his daughter and sprayed pepper spray into the face of (the Misrools’ daughter) even though it was not necessary to do so,” he said.
Turning to the officer who fired the fatal shot, Judge Smit said it was negligent to follow an unarmed person into a house full of people while holding a cocked pistol.