Monday, 24 November 2008

Another VIP cop in the dock

November 23 2008 at 04:24PM

A 27-year-old police officer will appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Monday after he allegedly assaulted a motorist, police said on Sunday.

Spokesperson Inspector Klaas van der Kooi said the police officer allegedly attacked a motorist in a road rage incident on Friday around 6pm in Villieria, Pretoria.

"The officer bumped the man's car off the road. He then proceeded to open the door of his victim's car, pulled him out and attacked him with his fists."

The man was currently stationed at the Railway Police unit, and was not a member of the VIP protection unit, as was initially believed. He was off duty and in his own car at the time.

Van der Kooi said the officer was arrested shortly after eyewitnesses called the police. He was detained at the Villieria police station overnight.

"The officer was released on a warning on Saturday morning. He will appear on charges of common assault and reckless or negligent driving in court on Monday."

The victim was taken by an ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was still recovering, van der Kooi said.

According to Sunday's Rapport newspaper, the victim, auditor and businessman Henk Griesel, 47, had three of his teeth knocked out when the policeman assaulted him with a piece of metal. The attack apparently happened when the police tried to overtake Griesel, but ended up bumping his car, Rapport wrote.

This was the second alleged case of road rage involving a policeman recently. KwaZulu-Natal social welfare MEC Meshack Radebe's bodyguard Constable Hlanganani Nxumalo was currently facing eight attempted murder charges.

Radebe told the Sunday Independent newspaper that motorists were also to blame for the behaviour of VIP drivers.

Nxumalo allegedly shot out the tyre of a car while on his way to pick up Radebe, causing a head-on collision that injured eight people.

Radebe said he had to get to Molweni outside Durban - 12 hours after a storm - to see how he could save lives.

"I'm not condoning VIP driver's behaviour, but I have experienced rude behaviour from motorists. They seldom give way and for no reason show us rude signs. Others when they see us coming, speed up and then brake unexpectedly," he was quoted as saying.

"Our drivers are trained to protect us. We are heading to elections and they need to ensure our safety. If a driver behaves like that, how do they know we are not being ambushed? Their reaction is to just push aside and shoot." - Sapa


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