Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Cops beat, 'humiliate' man

Cecil Hunter, 31, tells how he was assaulted by cops. (Alet Pretorius, Beeld)

07/11/2007 08:43 - (SA)

Christel Raubenheimer, Beeld

Johannesburg - A motorist claims he was handcuffed, repeatedly sprayed with pepper spray, kicked and beaten by police after going the wrong way down a one-way street.

Then, says Cecil Hunter, 31, he was thrown into the Benoni police station holding cells.

Hunter said: "I'm half ashamed about it, but they beat me until my bladder and everything was empty. Then they said to me: 'Now you're brave, shitting in your pants'."

Hunter says he was pulled off the road in the early hours of Friday by police from Benoni, for allegedly driving his car against the traffic.

He stopped and one of the police officers apparently asked him what he was going to do "about the situation".

Hunter denied doing anything wrong and asked the police, a man and a woman, for identification. He claims that they refused to show him any.

Claimed he was assaulted

"The man grabbed me and the woman sprayed me four or five times with pepper spray.

"I couldn't see and they cuffed my hands behind my back. I felt them taking my wallet out of my pocket and started screaming. I did resist the arrest, yes," he said.

While he was in the back of the police van, Hunter wriggled his hands through under his feet and managed to phone his girlfriend.

He also claimed he had been assaulted at Benoni police station.

Hunter said his wrists were still raw where the handcuffs had cut into him. The swelling around his eye had subsided, but it was still bloodshot and he had bruises everywhere.

Hunter said he had asked for medical treatment in the cells and it had been refused.

"I think they'd hoped that I would bribe them, but then I made a fuss. They took every note and coin out of my wallet and just left me my cards.

"I was very, very angry and humiliated. They robbed me and made me feel inferior. It was if they wanted to show they were in charge.

"I'm not going to lie: I shouted and swore at them (after the arrest), but that was all I had left."

Hunter had appeared in court on Friday and the case was postponed.

Can lay a formal complaint

Captain Jethro Mtshali said if Hunter's allegations about the incident were true, the actions of the police should be condemned in the strongest terms.

He confirmed that charges of assault and resisting arrest had been filed against Hunter.

"If the complainant feels he has been treated unfairly, he can address a letter to the station commissioner or go and see her personally.

"He can also direct a complaint to the Independent Complaints Directorate (the watchdog on police actions). My advice to him would be to lay a formal complaint."


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