November 02 2009 at 09:21AM
By Botho Molosankwe
A Bedfordview man believes he was sworn at, roughed up and jailed by three Ekurhuleni metro police officers because he is white.
His wife, he said, was sworn at and pushed against a counter by an Ekurhuleni metro police officer, who also mishandled her in full view of SAPS members at the Olifantsfontein police station.
"It's about race. Why allow someone to attack a white woman in a police station and do nothing about it? The way he spoke to her makes us sure that it was racists," Donovan Whittle said.
'Why allow someone to attack a white woman in a police station'
The 40-year-old man claims that on October 17 he was stopped and asked by a metro police officer for his licence.
He said he had handed it over, but when the officer just walked up and down the road with it and would not return it, he grabbed it from his hand.
"I then snatched the licence from him, I did not even touch him. As far as I am concerned, he was not allowed to keep my licence."
"I believe the incident was racially motivated. Me, my father and son were the only white people at the scene ... he was trying to prove a point," he said.
Whittle claims about eight metro police officers who were on the other side of the road arrived at the scene, shouted and swore at him and pushed him around. He believes they must have seen him grab his licence.
'... he was trying to prove a point'
He said two officers grabbed him - one so hard and tightly that fingernails gouged the skin on his arm.
Whittle then called 10111, and the other officers left.
When he failed to get the name of the officers who had grabbed him, he tried to take his picture, something that worsened the situation.
He was told he was interfering, thrown into a police van and taken to the Olifantsfontein police station, where he was charged with assault, refusing to give particulars, resisting arrest and interfering.
When his wife arrived at the police station, Whittle pointed out the officer who had hurt her arm, and she took his picture. That incensed him.
"He grabbed her, demanding her phone. He then grabbed her by the arm and pushed her against the counter.
"When she tried to lay a charge of assault, an officer at the charge office said 'f*** you, sit down and shut up!'."
Whittle was held in the police cells for five hours before being released on bail of R500.
He and his wife tried to lay a charge against the police officer at the Primrose police station the following day, but were told they could lay a charge only after Whittle's case has been finalised.
The Bedfordview police station said the same thing, and also told him he had to lay the charge with the Olifantsfontein police.
Wilfred Kgasago, of the Ekurhuleni metro police department, said they would investigate the officers' alleged conduct.
The department's integrity and standards unit would contact Whittle and get the full story from him.
Whittle appeared in the Tembisa Magistrate's Court, but the matter was struck off the roll.
This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on November 02, 2009