Suspects to sue police after death in custody
THREE men arrested and detained with a man who was allegedly tortured to death during an interrogation intend to sue police for damages.
The men were arrested with Lebogang "Bombe" Lodi, 28, who apparently died while in the custody of Chamdor police on the West Rand last Wednesday night.
The men had been arrested by heavily armed police officers at Lodi's parents' home in GaRankuwa, near Pretoria, allegedly in connection with ATM bombings.
The men's lawyer Maditsi Mphela said: "From an adjacent interrogation room, the three could hear Lodi screaming in pain while someone yelled at him to answer."
Mphela said shortly thereafter his clients were transferred to Kagiso police station. He said two of the men were released on Friday and the third on Sunday after they were "profiled".
He said an unidentified fourth man, who was with Lodi in the same interrogation room, was still in police custody. Mphela said the three men were "highly traumatised". He said he would meet them again tomorrow to finalise their statements.
Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale would only say: "We cannot investigate one of our own," and referred all queries to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
The IPID's Moses Dlamini said they had decided to send a pathologist to represent the directorate at the postmortem due to take place yesterday.
Dlamini would not comment on claims that Lodi's clothes were covered with blood. He said "that formed part of the investigations".
"It is alleged that Lodi was taken to Chamdor SAPS on the West Rand, where he was tortured," Dlamini said.
"He was then taken to Leratong Hospital in an unmarked vehicle, but was not admitted due to the fact that he was already dead."
He confirmed that police then took the body to the Roodepoort state mortuary, where "apparently the police tried to have the postmortem done before the family became aware of Lodi's death".
Dlamini said no arrests had been made yet and investigations were continuing.
Lodi's fiancée, Tshidi Baloyi, said when she and his family went to the morgue to identify the body a day after his death, police would not allow them to see the body.
"They showed us visuals on a computer screen.
"They told us we could not see the body before a postmortem was conducted," Baloyi said.