Johannesburg - Random by-law enforcement by the Joburg metro police department (JMPD) near a church in Hillbrow turned violent on Sunday when congregants attacked and stole an officer’s firearm.
But the Revelation Church of God took to Facebook and accused the JMPD of attacking its congregants instead of “helping to remove squatters from our land”.
This chilling incident occurred just a few weeks after six SAPS officers were attacked and assaulted by suspected drug dealers during a raid in Vanderbijlpark.
In Sunday's attack, a video clip shows the officer talking on his cellphone while walking backwards and away from a shouting and screaming crowd charging at him. He is then aggressively pushed back by a burly man. The officer then cocks his firearm and fires a shot in the air.
But that didn't deter his attackers, who kept charging at him, with one person heard saying in isiZulu: “Akusena lutho. Thathani isibhamu. (It does not matter anymore, take the gun.)”
With sirens blaring and more shots fired from afar, the officer was surrounded, severely assaulted and pushed to the ground.
JMPD spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said the incident happened at around midday in Plein Street.
She said JMPD officers were executing their duties when the incident took place.
“Officers found vehicles belonging to congregants of a church in that neighbourhood parked in the road. There was a vehicle that blocked the street, causing traffic congestion,” she said.
“As the breakdown truck towed the vehicle away, the officer was obviously busy issuing a fine first. All the congregants came out and started attacking him. The officer produced his firearm and fired a warning shot in the air for them to back off, but they still kept coming.
"He never pointed the firearm directly at them. That’s when they attacked him. He fell to the ground and they grabbed his firearm."
Mamonyane said the officer was beaten unconscious and had to be rushed to Milpark Hospital.
A congregant was later arrested after he took the officer’s firearm to Joburg Central police station, she said.
“He avoided the Hillbrow police station and took the firearm to the SAPS at Joburg Central instead, where he tried to hand it in. The police were aware of the attack and apprehended the person who brought the firearm in," she added.