Police watchdog has conducted a ballistics analysis, which found that the bullet which killed the teenager was not from his gun.
A POLICE officer known as ‘Scorpion’ did not kill 16-year-old Nathaniel Julius, the newly appointed head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate said on Friday afternoon, relying on a ballistics report.
Members of the public had circulated a picture of the police officer known as ‘Scorpion’, alleging that he was the police officer who pulled the trigger, fatally wounding Nathaniel, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
IPID head Jennifer Ntlatseng said the police watchdog had already conducted a ballistics analysis, which found that the bullet which killed the teenager was not from Scorpion’s gun.
Ntlatseng said she had been told by members of the local Community Policing Forum (CPF) that Scorpion was a “no-nonsense police officer” and not a rogue police officer as he has been described by some on social media.
“It is important to give people an opportunity to state their case, but what we have picked up from the CPF is that he is a no-nonsense police officer, but that does not make us conclude on that; we will do our own work to get to the bottom of it to say who is this Scorpion.
“But if people in the community are saying he is harassing them, we need to get that information, if we must convict him we will do that. But if Scorpion is also one of the hardest working police officers at the station, we need to be grateful for that.
“The community members must come forward as well because I have one side of the story right now,” she said.
Ntlatseng added that a preliminary report on the Nathaniel Julius investigation will be sent to Police Minister Bheki Cele on Sunday.
On the ballistics, she said: “We have interviewed the Station Commander and we have said to him the decision to remove the body from the crime scene leaves much to be desired.
“Ballistics has already given us a preliminary report saying the gun that was used is not the gun of the same Scorpion they are complaining about.
“There are other people involved, but right now, I am unable to say this is the person who has done that.”
Ntlatseng said IPID was also busy reconstructing the crime scene to determine if the version of events they had received from the police was consistent.
“We are committing to the community and CPF that if they feel threatened, we will place them under a witness protection programme and make sure they are protected,” she added.
Ntlatseng said that IPID would only make a decision about whether to suspend the four police officers involved once it had enough information at its disposal.
She said they were looking at a period of about two weeks to conclude their investigation and the four officers would be moved from the Eldorado Park police station until investigations were complete.
“If people must be arrested, they will be arrested and the information will be sent to the NPA, if people must be convicted, let it be,” said Ntlatseng.
Meanwhile, earlier on Friday, Cele visited the family and later addressed members of the community, who heckled him, calling for justice for the slain teenager.
Members of the community also demanded arrested community leaders be released and Cele said the police would arrange with the prosecution to see if they could be released on Friday ahead of their court appearance on Monday, facing public violence charges.
Later, President Cyril Ramaphosa also sent his condolences to the family.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family and neighbours of Nathaniel who has, as a 16-year-old, been deprived of a future and whose tragic death has given rise to anger and unrest in a community that deserves better,” he said.