Home News Mentally disabled boy traumatised after ‘arrest’

Mentally disabled boy traumatised after ‘arrest’

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“My child did not deserve to go through such an experience, Some people were not part of the protest."

concern: With some schools being closed due to protests in various areas in the city, pupils have now taken over from the adults and continued the protest. Picture: Danie van der Lith

A 16-YEAR-old pupil from Jannie Brink School in Kimberley, who was returning home from school on Tuesday afternoon, was allegedly arrested by the police and thrown into the back of a police van after he was apparently caught up in the chaos of this week’s service delivery protests in Colville.

The boy’s grandmother, Susan Jones, said yesterday that the mentally disabled pupil had been left traumatised by the incident.

“My grandson catches the school transport to and from Jannie Brink School. On Wednesday after school, the transport could not enter the area because of the protests and he was dropped off on the side of the road. At the time, the police were chasing some of the protesters.

“My grandson was caught in the chaos and ran into the yard of a community member. A police officer chased him and caught up with him. The officer grabbed him by the chest and dragged him to the van, where he pushed him inside and kicked him in the chest,” said an emotional Jones.

She said that the family was informed later that the boy had been arrested.

“I was told that the child had been taken away by police. I went to the police to enquire about the matter and was told that I must go to the police station and fetch him myself. I was worried as I knew that my grandson only has the mental ability of a 10-year-old and would not be able to explain clearly to the police that he was not involved in the protest.”

Jones added that she explained to the officers at the scene of the protest about her grandson’s condition.

“I told the officer and he initially said that I must fetch my child. I made it clear that they had taken him away and had to bring him back. Later that day, only after 5pm, they brought him back. He was totally traumatised and said that he had not eaten the entire day.”

She said that although she was relieved her grandson was eventually released, she felt that his rights had been violated.

“My child did not deserve to go through such an experience. I understand that the police were enforcing the law during the protest but they cannot arrest everyone. Some people were not part of the protest.

“My child was locked up and assaulted for no reason. Who knows who he shared a cell with during that time and what conditions he was exposed to? One hears of so many horrendous things happening to youngsters in the cells and he was put in danger unnecessarily.

“We are glad he is back home safe but the situation could have been avoided.”

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Dimakatso Mooi, said that the only persons arrested in connection with protest action were adults.