November 28 2008 at 07:42AM
A Kyalami, northern Johannesburg, man who filmed a police officer assaulting him and his wife on his cellphone has laid charges in the hope that "the matter will be dealt with at the highest level".
Baden Hall, who owns a corporate landscaping business, was following one of his trucks on Thrsday morning on the way to a filling station in Lonehill, north of Joburg, when it was pulled over at a police roadblock on Lonehill Boulevard.
"I pulled over at the layby as they wanted to arrest two of my workers, because they didn't have papers.
"I spoke to the female sergeant and told her I had all my workers' registration papers on file at the office, and would bring them to the police station," Hall said.
'You feel so helpless'
He was told that the men would be taken to Morningside police station, and when he queried this as Douglasdale police station was closer, he was insulted.
"So then I told her I wanted to see her appointment card, as by law she has to identify herself when asked before executing a police function.
"Then a female inspector in command of the roadblock stepped in. She shrugged me off, and when I asked her to wait she told me to f*** off and get out of the way," said Hall.
He was outraged, but as a former police reservist himself, he knew that while he could not legally photograph a police official's face, he could photograph their name badge.
"I set my phone to camera and went to photograph her badge and she hit me on the left side of my face with her fist, and then backhanded me on the right."
Taken off guard, Hall grabbed the woman by her collar.
"Then she started screaming a string of political abuse at me along the lines of 'You white sh**, you are going to die here with your money. We will make sure you never leave this country, you will die here first'," said Hall.
He then stepped back and called his wife Melanie, telling her that he was not planning on leaving the roadblock, and wanted her to accompany the truck, and pay for the petrol so that his workers could continue.
"Mel arrived and yelled at the policewoman for assaulting members of the public, and the woman came for her. So I put my phone on video mode and as she came to hit me, she missed and hit Melanie with a glancing blow," Hall explained.
The seven seconds of footage on his phone shows an angry policewoman storming the camera aggressively, striking out in front of her as a loud slap sounds. Then the picture ends suddenly as the phone was knocked out of Hall's hand.
The couple said the attack caused a commotion, as other police members entered the fray and restrained their aggressive colleagues.
According to Hall, a commanding officer from Sandton arrived, and he then tried to reason with this officer.
"Basically the Superintendent tried to labour the point of the workers with me, and I told him that was not the issue.
"It was the fact that an arresting officer refused to identify herself, then struck me twice when I tried to photograph her lapel badge.
"He said I had grabbed her, and I pointed out I had been unprovokedly attacked and was entitled to defend myself."
Speaking to The Star shortly after the incident, Hall said he was devastated, and would lay a charge of assault against the woman.
"Nobody was in control there. The inspector told me to f*** off at least three times, and I intend opening a case and reporting this to the Independent Complaints Directorate in the hope this will be escalated as high as possible."
Melanie Hall said she was horrified by the assault.
"You feel so helpless. They join ranks around you."
The SAPS said they could not comment at this stage.
o This article was originally published on page 13 of The Star on November 28, 2008