An elderly couple was left shaken and battered after their encounter with an EMPD officer, the Bedfordview Edenvale News reports.
Sean Rowely*, visiting SA from the UK, was allegedly assaulted on March 12 by an EMPD officer after he was pulled over by the officer’s female partner.
While driving down Terrace Road, through Sebenza, Rowely and his wife were pulled over by the EMPD.
The female officer claimed that Rowely did not stop at the stop street at the intersection of Buwbes Street and Terrace Road.
“I exited my car and tried to be as polite as possible and gave the female officer my international driver’s licence,” said Rowely.
He said the female officer questioned his licence and did not accept it.
She told Rowely that he had to pay a R500 fine for failing to stop at the stop street.
“She kept telling me I had to pay cash. I never had cash on me at the time. I told her that I would pay the fine at the police station,” said Rowely.
The female officer then allegedly threatened him with arrest if he did not pay cash.
Her male colleague joined the conversation and told Mr Rowely that he should obey the instructions of the female officer if he didn’t want to be arrested.
Rowely refused to pay the female officer any money and told the officers to arrest him.
He claims the male officer then escorted him to the EMPD vehicle while holding one of Rowely’s hands behind his back.
At the EMPD vehicle Rowely was instructed to sit in the car by the male officer.
He said because he suffers from epilepsy he told the officer he would rather stand. He added that the male officer tried to push him into the EMPD car but he resisted.
After struggling with the officer, Rowely told the male officer he would drive to the police station to pay the fine.
Rowely walked back to his vehicle.
“He was in the car and then the male officer pulled him out of the car and dragged him on the road,” said his wife, Jane Rowely*.
She said once her husband was back on his feet, the couple and the two officers started walking towards the police car.
“That was when the male officer hit me. He was walking to the left behind me and hit me on my left side,” said Mr Rowely.
“Sean fell – bang! On the ground. Blood was pouring everywhere – over his face, his ears and onto the road,” said Mrs Rowely.
At this point people passing by were stopping to see what had happened.
“I just asked anyone around to keep my wife safe,” said Mr Rowely.
An ambulance took him to the Linksfield hospital where X-rays were done.
After the medical checks were conducted, he was taken to the Sebenza Police Station by the EMPD officers.
He says he sat in the front passenger seat but could not find a seat belt.
“The male officer was driving recklessly, weaving through traffic with the lights and sirens on. I asked him what the rush was as I was not going anywhere. He told me to keep quiet.”
At the police station, Rowely was told he was under arrest for failure to provide information, hate speech, resisting arrest for assaulting a police officer and for the failure to stop at a stop street.
The couple said the incident had left them in an extremely nervous state and they were scared to drive around now.
Sergeant Sharon Tsotsotso, spokesperson of the Sebenza SAPS, confirmed that two cases of common assault were opened at the Sebenza SAPS. Both the officer and Mr Rowely opened cases against each other.
Lieutenant Colonel Wilfred Kgasago, the EMPD’s spokesperson, said although the EMPD was unaware of the incident involving Mr Rowely, the matter would be investigated.
He urged the couple to come forward and approach EMPD with their complaint.
Two days later, on March 12, more allegations of assault by metro police in Edenvale surfaced.
A video circulating on Facebook showed a motorist filming a man who appeared to be an EMPD officer.
While filming, Mr Diederick Stopforth, who was the motorist, claims the officer took his licence disk and did not return it.
On the video he added the EMPD officer was not wearing a name tag and could not be identified.
When Mr Stopforth asks for the officer’s name the officer smacks Mr Stopforth’s phone from his hand.
At the end of the video Mr Stopforth can be heard saying he will lay a charge against the officer.
Sergeant Jacob Mashile, acting spokesperson of the Edenvale SAPS, said a case of common assault was opened by the motorist against the officer on March 15.
Lt Col Kgasago said the EMPD was aware of the March 15 incident and was currently investigating the matter.
He said the investigation began on March 15.
Lt Col Kgasago said once the officer had been successfully identified and his statement taken, the investigation would continue.
“The compiled information and the recommendations from the investigation will be given to the EMPD’s chief of staff who will make a decision based on all the information,” said Lt Col Kgasago.
Councillor Heather Hart (ward 18) said in Edenvale there was concern from residents regarding the behaviour of EMPD officers.
Ms Linda McKenzie, chairperson of the Edenvale Community Police Forum, said she was glad that motorists were reporting and opening cases in connection to metro police harassment.
“If a member of the public finds themselves in similar situations they can report to me on 083 652 9914 or email@example.com,” said Lt Col Kgasago.
* Full names withheld for fear of victimisation.
– Caxton News Service