Jimmy Hendricks, 47, was picked up by police in December for being drunk in public and taken to their holding cells, where he was expected to be released after he sobered up.
This, according to resident Mary Strydom, was something done often in the Greyton area to ensure some locals did not loiter or become disorderly.
“The police take you into the cells and leave you to sober up, and then release you. But someone assaulted Jimmy in the holding cells. He was rushed to Tygerberg ICU, and that was when the family found out. We all want to know how this was allowed to happen,” she said.
Strydom said Hendricks was now in a weakened condition and was receiving treatment in Caledon Hospital.
She said the community had reported the incident to the SA Human Rights Commissioner for the Western Cape, Chris Nissen, because they had not received any information regarding the police’s investigation.
Acting Greyton police station Commander David Beyers said the incident occurred on the night of December 1 at 9.30pm. He said no officers had been involved.
“There were four detainees in the holding cell for drunken offences, and when the officers checked the cell they found one covered in blood and immediately called an ambulance. He was treated at Caledon Hospital,” he said.
Beyers said two of the detainees reported that another detainee had committed the assault, and said they had not raised the alarm out of fear he would assault them, too.
He said the suspect appeared in the Caledon Magistrate’s Court and had been released on bail and would make his next appearance on February 27.
In 2016, 18-year-old Gerdo Karelse, who had been taken into custody on June 26, was found dead in the Beaufort West police station holding cells the next morning.
He had been murdered by a fellow detainee.