Monday, April 12, 2010

Terror in Montclair

Terror in Montclair
12 April 2010, 13:39

By Noelene Barbeau

A woman travelling alone late at night has obvious concerns for her safety, so when a Durban attorney was flagged down by a metro police van with five male police officers late on Friday, she was afraid.Sugandhini Moodley has since filed a charge of assault with grievous bodily harm against the officers, who she said had handcuffed her, slapped her and dragged her into their vehicle after alleging that she had driven through a red robot.A metro police spokesman, Director Steve Edwards, said that if the incident were true, the police officers' behaviour was unacceptable."Metro police officers are not thugs," said Edwards. "We are civil servants, here to serve the public. We will investigate any complaint of this nature and if there's an indication that these policemen were out of order we will discipline them."Edwards advised Moodley to lay a complaint and said she could also submit evidence to help their investigation."I have been a policeman for over 30 years, and being a policeman means being diplomatic and also being capable of handling different situations," he said.Moodley said she had been travelling home from a family function in Montclair at 10.30pm on Friday and had stopped at a red robot. She had seen cars on either side of her and noticed a minibus taxi behind her without its lights on. "I stopped at the robot and was timing it to change," she said. "As I drove off, the taxi flashed its lights indicating for me to pull over. It was then that I saw the metro police writing on the vehicle."She complied and then noticed a group of men come out of the bushes where she had stopped. Fear gripped her. She told the metro policeman who approached her car asking for her driver's licence that she would stop further down at a well-lit and safer place.She did so and the police vehicle followed."The same policeman approached me but this time with a torch in his hand and he started banging at my window telling me to get out of my car and called me a racist, implying I was afraid because they were all African and the men who came out through the bushes were African as well."By this time the other police officers had also got out of their van. There were three men dressed in civilian gear and two in police uniform and that all were armed. She got out of her car and telephoned her father, Ponnusamy Rajaruthnam, who woke in a panic when he heard his daughter's distressed voice. "I thought she was being hijacked," he said. "She told me people were trying to interfere with and harass her and wanted to take her car. She said she was at the KFC."The call was cut and when he phoned her all he could hear was shouting."My daughter was screaming, 'Why are you doing this to me?' And a man shouted back asking her who the hell does she think she is. He used quite a few vulgarities and I panicked," said Rajaruthnam.He called the Flying Squad and set out to find the KFC that his daughter had described.Moodley, an asthmatic, was by then having difficulty breathing and speaking. She was handcuffed with her hands behind her back.She said she had been dragged to the police minibus. Some of her relatives were driving past at the time and stopped. She said the police had also been verbally abusive towards them."They treated me like a criminal," she said. "I asked my family to follow me because I had no idea where the police were taking me."The police, she claimed, had called her a "racist bitch" and had slapped her across her face."I was defenceless," she said. "When I tried to leave they accused me of being under the influence of alcohol and drugs but they didn't test me for either." She said the police had then driven her to the Montclair police station. Her relatives followed and also contacted her father, who arrived shortly thereafter. Moodley said a metro policeman had driven her car to the station.She was issued with a R1 500 fine for driving through a red robot and a R1 000 fine for failing to comply with the police.Her father said all the officers had refused to divulge their names and then left. She was taken to Addington Hospital to be examined. The doctor's report says she had soft tissue injuries on her face, both her wrists and her knee.Yesterday she returned to the station to file a charge. She said she would also be laying a formal complaint with the metro
This article was originally published on page 3 of The Daily News on April

1 comment:

  1. Another side rings true to the thuggery of the Durban Metro and their corruption!

    Some of their own members have been shot by gangsters in their own METRO TRAFFIC DEPARTMENT.