Investigation underway after South African man was handcuffed to a moving police van
Eight South African police officers have been arrested on suspicion of murder after video footage shows them handcuffing a man to the back of a police van and driving along the road in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg.
The South African police watchdog has now begun an investigation into the incident after taxi driver Mido Macia died in police custody a few hours after he was dragged by the vehicle.
It was reported that serious head injuries as well as internal injuries were the cause of his death.
Witnesses told how Mr Macia became subject to police attention when he parked in a way that blocked traffic and a dispute ensued. The police account alleged that when asked to move his car Macia assaulted an officer before taking hold of his firearm.
Video footage of the incident shows no evidence to support this claim. The video, published by South African newspaper The Daily Sun, shows the police tying Mr Macia’s hands to the back of the van above his head before moving off.
In the footage, protests and shouts from onlookers can be heard. Although he is seen struggling to free himself, there is no indication Mr Macia was violent.
Jeremy Gordon, The Daily Sun publisher called the account “a tissue of lies” and Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Southern African director, referred to the incident as “the latest in an increasingly disturbing pattern of brutal police conduct in South Africa”.
South Africa’s National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, said: “The behaviour displayed in the video, when it is committed by police who I expected to serve and protect, is to be abhorred by all right thinking people.”
She said the eight officers involved have now been disarmed and suspended. The current station commander has also been removed from his position so an internal investigation can proceed.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is underway with their investigation into the incident. Riah Phiyega has said “every and any support it needs” will be given to them.