Pretoria - Despite charges being dropped against him for violating curfew during an emergency, a Pretoria father will be pursuing legal action against the officers and the SAPS.
Naas Le Roux was arrested on January 7 because he had broken the curfew to buy formula milk for his hungry new-born baby at the Clicks pharmacy at Unitas Hospital.
The baby was born on January 6, and the baby as well as Le Roux’s wife, Natasha, were discharged from hospital on January 7.
Even though Mrs Le Roux was breastfeeding, a complication emerged with the baby’s feeding and according to Le Roux he had to drive to the emergency pharmacy at the hospital on the Friday morning at about 1am to buy formula milk.
Upon his return, two SAPS officers pulled him over about 250m from his home.
According to Le Roux they refused to listen to reason or to grasp that he had been breaking the curfew rule because of an emergency, even though he showed them the can of formula milk and the receipt.
Le Roux recorded the encounter on his cellphone, in which there was a heated exchange between the parties.
“The police officers who had no visible form of identification or badges were very aggressive, insulting and verbally intimidated me several times.”
The situation escalated until one of the officers told Le Roux that they were going to arrest him and teach him a lesson.
One of the police officers took his car keys from his vehicle and tried to prevent him from recording the conversation.
He was not allowed to phone his wife, and she had to walk about 250m to the car carrying her new-born baby who was restless from hunger to get the formula milk.
“She begged the police officers to let me go, but they simply refused.”
One of the police officers then asked his wife if she could drive.
She then had to drive home with her new-born baby on her lap, while the police officers arrested her husband and put him in the back of a police vehicle and told her that she could follow them to the police station to pay her husband’s bail.
According to his wife after feeding the baby at home, at the police station a warrant officer warned her to leave and go home immediatel, otherwise she would also be arrested.
She went home and obtained legal assistance for her husband who was released from custody the next morning.
Le Roux said he was very traumatised by the situation, “it is disappointing to see what the police did, when you expect to get help they did the opposite. We are hurt but at this stage we take it day by day, something you wish to forget but it sticks in your mind when you are at work or driving. It also has changed the way I view the police.”
He said he felt relieved that the charges were dropped but he was definitely scarred by the whole matter and an apology would not make it disappear. “It is difficult to have a positive view when you think back and see a police vehicle, as to what will happen.”