Muldersdrift shooting: Cops involved in Len Cloete incident are cooperating, says Ipid
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Pretoria – Police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) on Friday said cases of discharging of a firearm and attempted murder are being investigated, following the shooting of Len Cloete who was filmed in his underwear insulting police officers before seizing a gun from one of the officers.
The incident happened at the Misty Hills Lodge in Muldersdrift and the video of the incident has been widely shared on social media.
Ipid spokesperson Grace Langa said there has been no reason to arrest any of the police officers who attended the scene, or the police officers seen in the video shooting the irate Cloete.
“We have not had a reason to arrest them, remember people are arrested in order to remove them from the witnesses and when they intimidate witnesses or not cooperating. The arrest while we investigate is not to punish but just to keep a person away from causing danger or threat to witnesses,” Langa told Independent Media.
“At this stage, the people (police officers) are not giving a problem. In fact, they are cooperating with our investigation. No witness has been threatened and as I said, the law enforcement officers are complying with our investigations,” she said.
Langa explained that since the discharge of a firearm by a police officer caused “severe injury”, a case of attempted murder had to be investigated as Cloete was admitted to hospital and is reportedly in a coma.
“It is the outcome of our ongoing investigation that will determine how we proceed and with which police officers,” she said.
On whether the police officer who shot Cloete was still on duty, Langa said the ball was in the court of the police.
SAPS Gauteng spokesperson Colonel Dimakatso Sello, however, said she could not comment on the matter as it was being handled by Ipid.
Some legal experts have suggested that the police officer who fired the shot at Cloete could find himself in hot water with the law, even though Cloete was “in every way the author of his own misfortune”.
Criminal expert attorney Jacques Botha said police reacted passively and should not have let the situation spiral out of control.
“Len Cloete was in every way the author of his own misfortune. He was not in his sound mind and was physically big, but the cops were passive to the point of almost not being present. The mistakes by the police, both individually and cumulatively, led to a disaster that was predictable,” he said.
Botha said the police conduct was so bad that when he first watched the video, he knew the situation was going to escalate purely because of gross police incompetence.
“The two police officers outside were not present to assist and deal with the situation. When you have a person who behaves like this, police are trained to progressively dominate it so it does not escalate.
“Their lack of assistance allowed the perpetrator to gain control and they were not present to immediately react, which is what happened.
“This left a small, timid police officer standing there who the perpetrator took advantage of, and then an inept police officer who then shot the man,” he said.
He said when Cloete disarmed the police officer, she did not use any firearm retention technique to stop him.
“She failed dismally to protect her firearm. It is also questionable as to whether she should have drawn her firearm at this stage because he was unarmed, but that is another issue,” Botha said.
He said police did not get involved when Cloete disarmed one of their own. He said at no point did any of the police officers act out their training.
He noted that police also did not use any other degrees of force to subdue Cloete, such as pepper spray.