Filmed Cape Town cops arrested for assault
Two police officers who allegedly kicked and punched a naked man in Cape Town have been arrested, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has said.
The suspended warrant officers, aged 42 and 45, were arrested last night and will appear in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on assault charges on Monday. Other charges could be added, Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini said.
“The management of the SA Police Service in the Western Cape were horrified with the video footage that was in circulation in the social media since this [Friday] morning,” Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said at the time.
A witness in a building overlooking the Cape Town city street where the assault took place recorded Nigerian national Clement Emekensha being assaulted on her cellphone. The video shows two police officers handcuffing Emekensha, watched by two men wearing neon-yellow city safety unit vests.
One of the officers is seen removing Emekensha’s pants, leaving him exposed in the road. The footage shows the man being punched and kicked in the groin, while his arms are held at his sides.
The shocked voices of others in the building who saw the violence can be heard on the video.
One, a woman, opens a window and shouts: “Police brutality! That’s not how you treat a person. Why are you kicking him? Why are you kicking him?”
One of the officers is seen wagging his hand at her, before walking towards the building.
Kinana said police management had watched the footage and confirmed the police officers were from Cape Town Central police station.
“Their conduct is not in line with the SAPS code of conduct… We as the SAPS in the province condemn the behaviour witnessed in the video in [the] strongest terms.”
The SACP today condemned the assault: “The human rights of the victim were extremely violated, as he was stripped naked and kicked in his genitals in a manner that reminds us of the old regime police brutality,” SACP provincial spokesperson Masonwabe Sokoyi said in a statement.
“To us, this reflects that there are still remnants of our ugly past…”
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it would investigate the matter.
“It is very concerning that these incidents of brutality continue to happen despite continuous condemnation from rights groups, and many reassurances from the police top management,” SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said in a statement.
Mangena said police brutality should be dealt with as a matter of national concern.
“The Commission is concerned about the excessive use of violence by the police during arrests and service delivery protests, and has consistently condemned the brutality meted out by the police during such events,” he said.
Provincial safety MEC Dan Plato yesterday welcomed the suspensions, and said they were an indication that “this type of behaviour” would not be tolerated in a constitutional democracy.
He condemned the violation of the man’s dignity and his human rights.
It was not clear on what charges the man was arrested.
The organisation People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) said what was done to the man was unacceptable, regardless of the circumstances of his arrest.
Provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman said he was “outraged” that the man was stripped naked without posing a visible threat to any person.