So we decide to go have some fun at SNS House Party on the 28th of February. The party was very great, then I witnessed the most disregard of the law, by the police from the Sunnyside Police Station. I think I am still confused. Let me explain what happened to me that day, and how I got 20 hours stolen out of my life over egos and power trips.
Gerard Moerdyk Street, Sunnyside
My friends and I were at an event that was to end at 03:00 on the 1st of March, at 00:30 we decided to leave the event because we had had enough of the TURNING UP. We were walking towards Tumelo’s car when a man in civilian clothes, with a flaring temper and love for all kinds of profanities, walked out of a police-marked bakkie carrying a baton. The reason for his actions was that “there are too many people on the streets” that “must go away”. He then continued to hit his baton against a hotdog stand to tell people queuing for food to “go away”, and the vendor had to chase his own customers away.
I then turn to Lineo and we start making comments about the unnecessary violence we were seeing, a man in a red sweater starts threatening me to “shut up” and he was pointing at me. I turn around, ask the man if he is talking to me and to ask why he was pointing at me. He walks towards me calling me every variation of the word sefebe, and while I am asking him what his deal is, a man in a black sweater approaches us and grabs my arm violently, also swearing. Tumelo decided to intervene and tell the man not to touch me, he was then pulled to a bakkie (hade, Joe) because “he was speaking for me” and “wants to be arrested”, so said these men who are apparently police officers. I was literally dragged to another bakkie, and I kept asking why I was being arrested, and the one of the men dragging me told me that they don’t listen to whores and that I needed to be taught a lesson. I was then tossed into the back of the bakkie, literally.
So there I am, panicking in the back of the bakkie because I was not told why I was arrested or read my rights (police on TV do that and police dramas say it’s compulsory), so I thought I was in a rented or fake police car.
Sunnyside Police Station
We fortunately get to the police station and I am dragged out of the bakkie, even after I indicated I would cooperate, then pushed all the way to the holding cells reception. One of the officers asked for my details for a docket, but I am still not told why I am arrested. Then I am told I have the right to remain silent, I elect silence, then I am threatened to speak. Every question I asked was answered with “you are disrespectful” so I could never figure out what was going on.
I get a sheet informing me of the reason for my detention, and my constitutional rights as a detainee, and apparently what I did on the street was to assault four police officers on duty and resist arrest. It was weird, because none of that happened, so I didn’t sign for my rights. The sheet was taken back, it was said I refused to sign and I was detained in a cell at around 01:00. The Warrant Officer went on about how those five officers always go out and assault people and arrest them, but there I was, still. The police officers came from another round of fake assault arrests then came to my cell to check if I was crying and scared, then they got annoyed by my chill and then one threatened to ask the Warrant Officer to let a couple of male detainees into my cell so they could rape me. Then the male detainees in the other cells heard I was there and harassed me the whole night.
At around 10:00 I am taken out of my cell by a detective that’s trying to tell me not to speak when I am around police on the street, and that if police don’t like how I speak to them they will lie in their statement and ruin my life. Uhm… what? There I am in the reception of the holding cells waiting to be released and a Constable was very bothered that they could see my bikini bottoms from under my skirt. We had an argument about why I must sit “appropriately”, my comfort, self-respect and “respect for the men in the room”, so the Warrant Officer hated that I wasn’t happy with what they had to say, then took me back to my holding cell because I “have an attitude” and he told me he understands why I was arrested – I “talk too much”. But I was charged for assault not speaking too much. It was strange.
About 5 hours later I am taken out of my cell and begged for cooperation because the Warrant Officer had reported my attitude problem. Really? I am released for real at around 17:00 on the 1st of March and the Detective that is filling out my release form gives me a court date for the 4th of March. Then, because he saw I was “moody”, because holding cells are so much fun, told me not to stress and that the case was going to be dismissed when I got to court because “this always happens”.
I got home, showered, had supper, went to SNS at Blue Room, I had a birthday on the 2nd of March, I was going to turn up, assault charge or not.
Tumelo and I get to court and an Advocate working in Court C at Pretoria Magistrates Court tries to get us to give him money to go speak to the Prosecutor to take our docket off the roll, and we opted to rather wait for our case to be heard. During a break from hearing cases the Prosecutor welcomes us to his office to ask us what happened. We tell him, he says: “There is something ungodly happening in Sunnyside. Are you Christian?I understand why the police are violent there, it is justified, because odd things happen in Sunnyside and people need to be deterred from Sunnyside.” The advocate in the room gives an example of when he was arrested as he walked to buy cigarettes by Sunnyside police, Prosecutor says: “But why would they arrest you? You don’t like a foreigner to me.” That Prosecutor is shady as hell.
We leave his office because the break is over, more cases are heard by the Magistrate, court is adjourned but our case still isn’t heard. Prosecutor then sends someone to tell us our case was taken off the roll and that we can go home, 4 hours wasted in court and spent away from school.
So that is how the mess went down, when Tumelo tried to file a charge against the police officers he was advised to rather complain to the IPID because “the Station Commander will walk around the police station with the charge and it will disappear”. So now that the IPID complaints are in, we live in hope.
The SAPS in Sunnyside is one messed up situation. At least I wasn’t cuffed, right? Ag!