A former chairman of the Hartbeespoort policing forum will receive R180 000 from the police after being unlawfully detained by officers seeking revenge against him.
The Pretoria High Court found that the revenge against Pieter Rautenbach was due to his insistence that a task force be set up to investigate corrupt police officers.
The SAPS members who caused his arrest were implicated in possible wrong-doing, and they apparently wanted to get back at Rautenbach.
He was arrested in October 2008 and locked up for two hours on a charge of intimidation and interfering with police duties. It took six months before the criminal charges against him could be withdrawn.
Acting Judge RM Keightley was so outraged by their conduct that he ordered that a copy of his judgment be handed over to the Police Department so that his comments regarding three policemen could be seen by their superiors, particularly his finding that they lacked credibility, and maliciously caused the prosecution of Rautenbach on false charges.
“I trust that this will have the desired effect and that the appropriate action will be taken against them. I particularly recommend that the minister take active steps to ensure that the defendants are held personally responsible for their financial obligations (to pay the damages).
“I do not see why the taxpayer should be held liable to fund this kind of conduct by police officers,” said the judge.
Before his arrest, Rautenbach placed an advertisement in a local newspaper in which he alerted the public to complaints about the conduct of certain police at Hartbeespoort police station.
These included that they threatened to arrest people who were complainants in criminal cases, and sought to extract bail money from them.
He asked residents with complaints to contact him.
A member of the public, who was threatened with arrest, later called Rautenbach.
Three police – Thomas Mokgatle, Petrus Makgopela and Kaelebogo Bohelo – claimed Rautenbach stormed into their office, shouting and making trouble. Rautenbach, in turn, claimed that while he was at the police station, he was never in the office of the officers.
Various witnesses corroborated his version.
The police officers’ only defence was that they told the truth and Rautenbach and the others did not, said Judge Keightley.
He said their performance in the witness box led him to reject their versions. The judge added that they were the authors of their own demise. He found they had falsely instituted charges against Rautenbach
A Laredo police officer was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after crashing into a tree early Sunday while traveling southbound on IH-35.
Miguel Angel Esparza, 23, was booked and taken to Webb County Jail where he posted bail. Esparza will be placed on administrative re-assignment with pay pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.
A Chicago Police officer was charged with involuntary manslaughter Monday in connection with an off-duty shooting that left a 22-year-old woman dead and a man wounded on the West Side last year.
Cook County Judge Donald Panarese ordered Dante Servin held on $75,000 bond on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct.
Servin, who had been working as an Area Central detective since the shooting, will be stripped of his police powers until after the trial.
Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden criticized the charges, calling it a “sad day” when a Chicago Police officer is “charged for doing something he’s trained to do when defending himself.”
A federal lawsuit was filed against Servin and the city in March by Antonio Cross, who was wounded in the shooting on March 20, 2012. The family of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd, who died in the shooting, reached a separate $4.5 million settlement with the city in March.
Prosecutors said Monday that Servin was on his way home when he heard a large crowd in Douglas Park and called 911 to report a party.
Servin later left his home with an unregistered handgun and encountered the victim and three others by an alley, prosecutors said.
After words were exchanged, prosecutors said, a person in the group pulled out a cellphone, and Servin opened fire.
At the time of the shooting, police said the off-duty detective rolled down his window to investigate some people causing a disturbance when Cross — later charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault — approached carrying a handgun.
Police said Cross, then known as Anthony Cross, pointed the gun at the detective, prompting him to fire, hitting Cross and Boyd.
Cross, then 39, was shot in the hand, and was treated and released from a hospital, but Boyd, who was shot in the head, died the next day at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Boyd’s family filed suit over the shooting in 2012, claiming she was not armed and presented no threat to Servin. The City Council Finance Committee signed off on a $4.5 million settlement in March.
Police in a Detroit suburb yanked a cop off the street after he reportedly told a mentally ill black man to sing and dance so he could record humiliating videos.
The Grosse Pointe Park police officer has admitted making several videos that sparked public outrage and accusations of racist abuse, according to the Motor City Muckraker, the news blog that first posted the footage.
A middle-aged black man sings and makes strange noises, apparently at the direction of a police officer, the grainy footage shows.
“Go ahead, do your song,” the person behind the camera says on the video.
Bowens didn’t name the suspended cop, but Muckraker had previously identified him as Officer Michael Njam.
Michael Scipio, 55, of Detroit claims he is the man in the officer’s video, the Detroit News reported.
Scipio lives in a boarding house in Detroit, just beyond the Grosse Pointe city line. Officers patrolling the small, primarily white enclave have frequently stopped him for public intoxication, and they have also driven him home and to the hospital, the paper reported.
“I don’t know who did it,” Scipio told reporters when asked about the video. “It made me feel like a fool.”
Steve Neavling, who broke the story on Muckraker, claimed the videos were just a sampling of the humiliating footage that was passed among officers and relatives to make fun of black men.
He also posted a picture — attributed to an officer — of a black man riding in the back of a trailer.
Neavling told the Free Press he would turn over additional videos to police once he had permission from his source.
Michigan activists have called for all officers involved to be fired.
“What kind of fun is it to take advantage of someone?” Minister Malik Shabazz of the Marcus Garvey Movement told the Detroit News. “It’s humiliating.”
The city says the investigation is ongoing.
"The people responsible for this video, and for the circumstances surrounding this video, will be disciplined accordingly," Bowens told Fox Detroit. "If there's anybody out there who has a video of anybody being mistreated in this fashion, that's not already posted out there, or just has it, we want them to contact the police chief."