'Police grabbed my skirt, tore it'

ANOTHER week and yet another allegation of police brutality. This time Woodstock police officers are in the spotlight for allegedly attacking a handcuffed club owner and a female patron - both of whom are members of the local community police forum.

Yesterday Nicky Asher-Pedro, who was pepper sprayed by an officer, said she and club owner Nnamdi Muoka were yet to lay charges against the officers.

"We have gone to see a lawyer and he is dealing with the matter," Asher-Pedro, a social worker and journalist, said.

She said she was at the club on Saturday when she noticed officers screaming at Muoka.

"(One officer) said there was a complaint that his music was too loud and that he was violating the liquor licence act. When (Muoka) tried to ask a question they told him to 'shut the f*%& up'," she said.

After that, she said, Muoka was assaulted and arrested. Everything was captured on CCTV cameras in the club.

When Asher-Pedro enquired about Muoka's assault, a female officer allegedly grabbed her glass of wine and handbag and threw it on the floor.

"She grabbed me by my skirt and it tore. And she sprayed me with pepper spray in my face," she said.

But the police are singing a different tune.

Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said officers went to the bar on Saturday to check whether the bar owner complied with the Liquor Act.

After visiting the establishment, officers determined the bar wasn't following regulations and warned the owner.

When the owner refused to close his business, the police arrested him.

As the owner was led from the scene, patrons of the bar began assaulting the police officers, who arrested three patrons - two men and a woman.

All three were arrested for hindering a police officer in the execution of duties, assault on a police officer and being drunk and disorderly on a licensed premises, Traut said.

Police released the three patrons and the owner from custody on Monday. All four will appear in the Cape Town magistrate's court on May 10.

Traut said no complaint had been issued with SAPS regarding any misbehaviour on the part of the officers.

"We are investigating internally," Traut said.