News / Africa

South African Police Officers Charged with Murder

South African police officers arrested on suspicion of murder appear for bail hearing east of Johannesburg on March 11, 2013.  Nine South African policemen pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering a Mozambican taxi driver who has handcuffed and dragged behind a police vehicle.
South African police officers arrested on suspicion of murder appear for bail hearing east of Johannesburg on March 11, 2013. Nine South African policemen pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering a Mozambican taxi driver who has handcuffed and dragged behind a police vehicle.
TEXT SIZE - +
Anita Powell
— Nine South African police officers appeared for a bail hearing Monday in Johannesburg after being charged with murder in the death of the taxi driver, a Mozambican immigrant. Mido Macia, a 27-year old taxi driver, died last month after being arrested by police in eastern Johannesburg.  Police had said he was resisting arrest for parking his taxi illegally.

Macia is one of hundreds of people who die at the hands of South African police each year.  But his case has drawn international attention, because one enterprising eyewitness filmed police dragging the young man through the street from the back of a police van.  Macia died later that day in police custody. 

An autopsy report read in court Monday said he died of lack of oxygen. The report, read by the prosecutor, also noted he had lacerations on his head, scalp and jaw, and abrasions on his face, legs, arms and back.

There are three main issues in this case, said South African Human Rights Commission CEO Kayum Ahmed. The primary problem, he said, is that police are failing to obey their mandate to protect human rights. He also criticized police for their history of treating immigrants differently, and said he was concerned that the crowd around Macia was too afraid to act as he was being dragged.

His organization has found police are trained in human rights issues, and so he believes the fundamental problem lies with top leadership.

“If we assume that police officers are taught about human rights principles and we assume that most police officers are essentially interested in upholding the law and in justice, I believe that the reason why some police officers are unable to apply these principles and values must be because of the challenges at the leadership level within in the police, as opposed to a compassion deficit perhaps amongst police officers.  It is probably more a question of a leadership deficit," Ahmed said.

Police in South Africa drew strong criticism last August when they fired on striking miners at a platinum mine, killing 34 of them.  Police came under new scrutiny last month when it was revealed the lead detective in case of case of athlete Oscar Pistorius, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, was facing seven counts of attempted murder for opening fire on a minibus.

The nation’s Independent Police Investigative Directorate has said deaths in police custody or as a result of police action have fallen 10 percent.  But in the past year, the Independent Complaints Directorate documented 720 such deaths. The agency said that number was “unacceptably high.”

A spokesman for the directorate declined to comment when asked what police should to do bring that figure down.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid