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South African Police Plead Not Guilty in Dragging Death

Nine South African police have pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering a Mozambican man who was handcuffed to a police van and dragged through the street.

The suspects entered their pleas Friday during a hearing in the town of Benoni, not far from Daveytown, the area where 27-year-old Mido Macia died last month after his arrest by police.

A cellphone video taken at the scene showed police scuffling with Macia after he parked his taxi illegally. He was then subdued and handcuffed to the van as a crowd of bystanders pleaded with police to stop.

The driver of the van, Lungisa Ewababa, said Friday he did not know Macia was chained to the vehicle, and drove off only because someone attacked the van.

A post-mortem report circulated in the court Friday says Macia suffered extensive injuries, including abrasions on his face, limbs and body, and ultimately died of hypoxia -- a lack of oxygen.

The video of the incident sparked outrage in South Africa, where it reminded some people of police brutality during the apartheid era.

South African police have come under rising criticism for excessive violence. Last August, police shot and killed 34 striking workers at a platinum mine.

More recently, the lead detective in the murder case of Olympian Oscar Pistorius was removed from the investigation after it was revealed he was facing attempted murder charges, for firing on a minibus full of passengers.

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