While an officer at Woodstock SAPS investigated my arrest as part of a disciplinary process against Constable Yoko, who unlawfully arrested me, my reports of two assaults (one very serious and perpetrated by a Constable Khoza on a defenceless detainee) have attracted no attention from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). Below are two emails I sent to a specific official at their Cape Town office to whom I was referred by the office of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman (Advocate Vusi Pikoli). When contacted by GroundUp, Mr Anthony promised to meet with me. He has failed to do so, or even reply to my emails. GroundUp wrote on 21 January:
GroundUp contacted the office of the IPID Western Cape but the number, which is given on their website, was not available. Eventually we got hold of Anthony via a number provided by the ombudsman’s office.
Anthony told GroundUp that he had received the email but “I could not attend to it at the time because things have been hectic. I will look at it now and will provide feedback by today as I will not be in the office tomorrow”. He added that he could not give an exact time of the feedback but it would “definitely be today”.
Anthony said his office had received a letter from the ombudsman and would take the matter from there and because a complaint was not filed at the police station, IPID was not aware of the incident.
“I will make time to meet Mr Grebe personally about this matter and we will take it forward,” Anthony said.
Here are my emails to Anthony:
From: Eduard Grebe < [email protected]>
Date: Wednesday, 13 January 2016 at 14:14
Subject: Criminal complaints against police officers
Dear Mr Anthony
I was referred to you by the Office of the Western Cape Ombudsman for Police after I lodged a complaint with them over police actions towards me as well as two other detainees. They indicated that they are unable to investigate alleged criminal actions by police officers, which should instead be investigated by the IPID.
In the complaint to the Ombudsman which I attach hereto, and also the article I wrote for the press (also attached), I describe criminal assaults by police officers. Specifically, late on the evening of 3 January I witnessed an arrest taking place close to my home (at the corner of Trill and Oxford Roads, Observatory, Cape Town), by a Constable Yoko and another police officer (whose name I do not know). While restraining the arrestee, one of the police officers (I believe Constable Yoko, but I am not 100% sure) choked the arrestee repeatedly, in a way I did not believe could possibly be justified. While the arrestee was not complying with the SAPS members’ instructions to put his hands behind his back, he had been effectively restrained by being pinned to the ground and the members could not have felt physically threatened at the time when the choking took place. I attempted to film the incident – in a deliberate and obvious way – in order to create an incentive for the members not to unduly harm the arrestee. Const Yoko first attempted to persuade me to delete the video and, when I refused, unlawfully arrested and detained me on a purported charge of “riotous behaviour”. I was released without charge the next day.
I am not sure whether this unlawful arrest also constitutes a criminal act and potentially falls within the purview of the IPID, but it certainly constituted an gross abuse of power and serious misconduct.
Second, the next morning (4 January, sometime between 08:00 and 10:00, I believe) I witnessed an even more egregious assault – described in some detail in the article that I wrote. This assault was perpetrated by a Constable Khoza on a detainee, whose name I do not know, in a prisoner transport vehicle outside the Cape Town Community Court. The victim had in no way physically endangered the SAPS member. There was no attempt to restrain the victim – he was simply attacked after apparently stolen money was found in his possession. The assault appeared to be purely punitive and a form of summary justice in the eyes of the SAPS member in question. This was without doubt a serious criminal act on the part of the member and should be vigorously investigated.
I am willing to be interviewed, provide sworn statements, and to testify in Court about these incidents. There are also other witnesses (in particular to the second assault by Const Khoza, which was witnessed by at least one other police officer and at least four detainees, in addition to the victim himself).
I await your urgent reply.
P. Eduard Grebe
From: ” Grebe, Eduard ” <[email protected]>
Date: Sun, Jan 17, 2016 at 10:43 AM -0800
Subject: Re: Criminal complaints against police officers
Dear Mr Anthony
Could you kindly confirm receipt of my complaint, confirm that a criminal investigation is underway, and indicate if an when you would like to interview me.