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South African police suspended over 'man dragged by van' video


South Africa

South African police suspended over 'man dragged by van' video

South Africa has suspended eight police officers over the death of a taxi driver who was tied to the back of a truck and dragged through the streets of Johannesburg.

Police commissioner Riah Phiyega said the officers had been been disarmed pending an investigation, and the station commander had been removed from his post.

The incident was filmed by a member of the public and broadcast on television on February 28, sparking outrage at police brutality. People from the Daveyton township east of Johannesburg protested outside a local police station.

Local resident Glan Mahatlane said: “I do think that the government should take a tough stance, I think people should be treated with dignity irrespective of where they come from whether they are South African citizens or they are people who are coming form other countries.”

Thabiso Mopatlane, another local, complained that police think they can get away with illegal activity: “With regard to police brutality, I think it needs to stop because police actually get away with it quite a lot, and as you saw in the video nobody could do anything about it because they think they are above the law.”

The video shows the ordeal of Mido Macia, 27, from Mozambique. He is seen being tied to a van by uniformed policemen and then dragged by his arms along the road as the vehicle is driven away. Police report that he had been arrested for obstructing traffic and resisting arrest.

Macia died later in police custody.

South African President Jacob Zuma has condemned the incident, calling it “horrific” and “unacceptable”.

It is the latest in a series of scandals to hit South Africa’s police force in recent months and raises fresh concerns about police brutality in a country where more than 1,200 people a year die in police custody.

The lead detective in the murder case against Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius was removed from the investigation last week when it emerged he was facing seven attempted murder charges.

South African police shot dead 34 striking workers at a platinum mine in August 2012 – the deadliest security incident since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Warning: this video shows graphic images of a man being dragged behind a vehicle

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