Cape Town police officers susp

Cape Town police officers suspended after damning video goes viral

Two Cape Town policemen have been put under suspension after a violent arrest was caught on camera last week. But is the government doing enough to curb police brutality?

Cape Town police officers susp


A PROBE has been launched to look into an episode of police brutality caught on film in Cape Town, resulting in an immediate investigation into the two police officers involved in the violent arrest of a Nigerian immigrant last week.

Capetonian Nicole Speelman had captured the graphic footage on her cameraphone, showing the police officers in question hitting and kicking a nude suspect in the streets of Cape Town during his arrest. After distributing the two-minute film on the social media website Facebook it went viral beyond South Africa, drawing international attention to the ongoing issue of South African police brutality.

The Western Cape government took an uncompromising stance on the matter; Western Cape Minister of Community Safety Dan Plato released a statement soon after the attack, calling on the Western Cape Police Commissioner, General Arno Lamoer, to immediately suspend the officers involved in the incident – long before the South African Police Service (SAPS) had even had a chance to react to the event and take any disciplinary action in accordance with its own guidelines.

“I immediately contacted the South African Police Service demanding the immediate suspension of the officers involved and have asked for a report by the close of business today. I have also taken this matter up with the IPID and requested a full investigation.”

He also went on to praise the actions taken by Speelman and her associates, saying: “There is no place in a civilised society for this kind of brutality, and I applaud the brave members of the public for speaking up about this incident. We must never tolerate police brutality. We live in a free and democratic society.”

The Western Cape police service said that it is committed to investigating the incident.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) also made a public statement about the attack. Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, Shadow Minister of Police, said on behalf of her party that “the DA is horrified by the video released on social media sites revealing SAPS officers brutally beating a man up and stripping him of his dignity. What was even more disturbing is that police aggressively manhandled, pushed, choked, punched and kicked him repeatedly.”

Despite the public outcry, police brutality remains a recurrent reality in South Africa, with several police transgressions reported each year, culminating in torture, injury and even death.

By Sertan Sanderson, 2014