IPID is investigating a case of police brutality after a man died when he was allegedly assaulted and forced to down a litre of liquor.
THE INDEPENDENT Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating a case of police brutality after a man died when he was allegedly assaulted and forced to down a litre of liquor.
The incident happened in Kimberley earlier this week and a police spokesperson confirmed that IPID is investigating the matter.
The man, a local taxi driver, was allegedly chased by the police with their firearms drawn. They then pushed him into a police combi and drove around the block after allegedly forcing him to down a one-litre bottle of sherry that he had on him.
According to eyewitnesses, they were threatened by the police officers when they tried to take video footage of the incident.
After the incident the police combi dropped the man off at a robot not far from where he was taken.
A friend, who was with the victim at the time, was left devastated by the incident.
He said his friend had not even taken a sip from the bottle of sherry after buying it from a nearby liquor store.
“He said it was cold and suggested that we buy some sherry to warm ourselves. After buying the liquor he performed a cultural act of pouring a little bit on the ground for the ancestors, before he gave me a sip,” said the friend.
“He was just about to take his first sip when we saw the police in front of us. He was nervous and closed it before putting it in the pocket of his jacket.
“When we saw the police heading in our direction, he started to run. I told him not to run because he did not drink from the bottle and, instead, put it in his pocket, however, he ignored me.
“One of the police officers pulled out his firearm and chased my friend while the two other officers followed.”
According to the friend, the man did not get very far before the police officers caught up with him and pushed him into a police vehicle.
They then drove away. Shortly afterwards the police vehicle returned and dropped the taxi driver off at a nearby robot.
“He had the empty bottle in his hand and threw it into the dustbin,” his friend said.
He added that his friend looked dizzy, but they thought he was drunk because of drinking the sherry.
The victim apparently went to buy another bottle of sherry to share and a beer for another friend.
“He said he was going to drink his share at home.”
The eyewitness said his friend was bleeding from his forehead, which was not the case when he was picked up by the police.
“He sat down with the second bottle of sherry. I watched him and it appeared as if he had passed out.
“People started showing concern when they saw him leaning to the side and I realised something was wrong.
“When I called his name he did not respond and someone told me that he was no longer alive.
According to the friend, family members of the victim showed him his clothes, which had blood on it.
The incident has left community members in Kimberley outraged and they are demanding answers.
The Kimberley Local Taxi Association (KLTA) confirmed that the deceased was one of its members, but was off duty at the time.
The association expressed disappointment at the manner in which the police handled the matter.
KLTA secretary David Lebona said they were contacted about an alleged case of police brutality involving one of their members.
He called for calm and for the community to allow the law to take its course.
“When we arrived at the scene he was already dead and there was no trace of the police. The question we are asking is whether it was lawful for the police to confiscate the alcohol? We want answers as to what exactly happened to our member. Community members are planning a meeting to discuss the incident,” Lebona said.
By the time of going to print IPID had not commented yet.