‘I thought they were going to kill me’: Cops assault video victim speaks out
Man sustains injuries after being dragged by police van
“At some point I thought they were going to kill me.”
These are the words of Milosh Basson, who was handcuffed to a police van and dragged down the street in Kensington, Cape Town, in yet another case of police brutality.
The incident, which happened around 6pm on Friday, was captured on video and widely circulated on social media, with Milosh seen handcuffed to the back of the van with two police officers next to him.
Residents are heard shouting but are ignored and the officers get into the vehicle and it speeds off.
A resident can be seen holding Basson’s hand and running behind the van as he is being dragged.
“I was unconscious half of the time because of the paper spray they used on my face [before I was handcuffed to the van]. My chest and eyes were burning,” Basson told Sowetan.
He sustained head and body injuries.
“They [police] continued to beat me up at the police station with pipes and were kicking me. They kept saying my family was not a right family but they did not tell me why.
“I am currently in pain. My left arm [which was handcuffed] is swollen. I am scared to walk on the streets because the police came by my house today [Wednesday]. They found my uncle and ask where I was. I don’t know what they were going to do with me if they had found me. I am thinking of moving somewhere else.”
His attorney Keegan Lasker claimed Basson was left in the van bruised and bleeding for hours after the incident.
He said he was only able to see him for five minutes after 10pm.
“His clothes were bloodied. After seeing him, I made it clear that there was nothing I could do for him on a Friday because of the treatment I was getting from the police,” Lasker said.
He said Basson was accused of being in possession of drugs and resisting arrest.
Western Cape police spokesperson WO Joseph Swartbooi did not respond to questions around the incident, saying: “The circumstances surrounding the incident cited in a video clip that was circulated as well as the SAPS member who sustained injuries as a result of the public violence which erupted in Kensington are under investigation.”
Independent Police Investigating Directorate (Ipid) spokesperson Robbie Raburabu said investigations were at infancy stage and they were meeting with Basson on Friday to take his statement.
“Preliminary investigations indicate that three members will be investigated.”
Lasker said his client was charged with possession of drugs and resisting arrest and was released on warning after appearing in court on Monday.
Lawyers for Human Rights head of panel reform programme Nabeelah Mia said: “The video displays a gross violation of this man’s human rights...
"If someone is resisting arrest, the Criminal Procedure Act sets out that the police may use reasonable force to effect arrests but only within the limitations of Section 49. If they act beyond this, the police will be committing a criminal act. We see this person being physically harmed by being dragged behind a police van which is absolutely cruel and inhumane and clearly in violation of his constitutional rights."
Thato Masiangoako a researcher the Socio-Economic Rights Institute said, “There is no valid reason or any grounds that this man should be treated in such a manner... Regardless of what he was accused of, whether or not he resisted arrest, there were no grounds for him to be handcuffed to the van and dragged down the road. It’s unjustified, brutal and unfair.”
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