Cops held in dragging death

Still from footage showing man being dragged behind police van.
Still from footage showing man being dragged behind police van.

JOHANNESBURG — Eight South African police officers have bee arrested over the death of a Mozambican man who was dragged through the streets behind a police vehicle.

An investigation was launched after video footage emerged showing the man hauled through the streets with his hands cuffed to a police van.

Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega thanked people for revealing “callous and unacceptable behaviour”.

President Jacob Zuma said the incident was “horrific” and “unacceptable”.

The eight officers were initially suspended pending an investigation. It was later announced that they had been arrested and would appear in court on March 4.

Taxi driver Mido Macia, 27, died of head injuries and internal bleeding after his arrest in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, an initial post-mortem found.

He was reportedly detained for parking his vehicle in a way that blocked traffic.

The video, shot by a bystander on a mobile phone, shows a large crowd gathering as uniformed policemen tie him to a van, dragging him as they drive away.

A small crowd, mostly women, gathered this morning outside the police station where the 27-year-old taxi driver died in the holding cells.

Some of the chants blamed the police for brutality.

The South African Police Service expressed “extreme shock and outrage” at the mobile phone footage.

“From the video which has gone viral, it is obvious that the rights of Mido Macia were violated in the most extreme form,” it said in a statement,

“The behaviour displayed in that video, when it is committed by police who are expected to serve and protect, is to be abhorred,” it added.

South Africa’s police force was already under intense scrutiny after officers shot dead 34 striking miners last August.

Its credibility was also dented when it emerged that the lead detective in the murder case against athlete Oscar Pistorius was himself accused of attempted murder. (BBC)

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