Metro Police bullies

"There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down"

For What it is Worth – Buffalo Springfield This morning I read a couple stories about how the Joburg Metro Police are locking motorists up for relatively minor traffic offences. Candice published a post to her blog about her friend who was locked up for making a left turn just beyond the traffic lights when her fellow (and particularly discourteous) motorists wouldn’t let her into the slip lane. There are a number of similar reports of motorists being locked up for the day in police cells only to find the charges against them being tossed out of court. One commentator made a good point when he said:

"Taxi drivers hop across two traffic lanes at a time, without signalling, and nothing happens to them. "Now, our loved ones are treated like animals for an innocent, minor mistake,"

I have noticed a more visible Metro Police presence on our roads lately and, for the most part, I am happy to see it because it means the police are out there, theoretically doing what they are supposed to be doing. I don’t even mind the road blocks if it means that the roads are safer but when motorists are actually imprisoned for a day at a time when they could have been fined or warned to appear in court then I think there is a problem with the system. Especially when some of the bigger culprits, taxi drivers, are still allowed to drive recklessly. Are the Metro Police afraid of them and taking out their frustrations on the rest of us? I am not familiar with the penalties for these offences (and I’d love to hear the views of a lawyer who does) but it seems to be that imprisoning a motorist for taking a turn where it shouldn’t be taken (or similar offences) is excessive and an unjustifiable limitation of our rights. Surely a fine and/or a warning to appear in court is sufficient? The problem is that our Metro Police are increasingly bullying the citizens they are supposed to protect to the point where it is difficult to tell who is worse? The Metro Police or the lunatic and homicidal taxi drivers we are forced to share our roads with. The Metro Police will say they have adopted a zero tolerance attitude and I am fine with that. What I am not ok with is when the Metro Police make comments like this:

you people just think you can pay your fines and get away with it, we are going to teach you a lesson

and

you are lucky you are in a group as we would have tortured you if you were on your own

(thanks Candice) Where are we living? Zimbabwe? Pakistan? What kind of nonsense is this? Teaching motorists a lesson, torture?? We are living in the beginnings of a police state no better than the Apartheid era and what makes it worse is that our government should know better. It should be more sensitive to human rights issues and community based policing. Picking on motorists like this and imposing unreasonably severe penalties is not community policing, it is State sanctioned bullying. Like Candice, I am really concerned about being out on the roads. What if some Metro cop is having a bad day and locks me up because I didn’t do my 5 point check when I took a turn? What if a group of them decide to torture the white guy to make an example of me? Who is watching the police? Who is going to rein them in or are we going to see increasingly severe behaviour under the guise of "zero tolerance"?
Update:
Gavin Foster has a great post setting out the legal position where you are accosted by the cops and arrested for not paying a fine.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Paul

Enthusiast, writer, strategist, web developer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

  1. I just think it is high time that the police made some attempts at positive PR in this country [using actions not words], and although I agree with ZERO tolerance, we need to remember we are supposed to be a democratic society that treats its citizens in a humane and dignified way. What happened to innocent until proven guilty…? These people were treated [and called] 'criminals' before the court of law threw the case out! Thanks for this post Paul!

  2. I just think it is high time that the police made some attempts at positive PR in this country [using actions not words], and although I agree with ZERO tolerance, we need to remember we are supposed to be a democratic society that treats its citizens in a humane and dignified way. What happened to innocent until proven guilty…? These people were treated [and called] ‘criminals’ before the court of law threw the case out! Thanks for this post Paul!

  3. I just think it is high time that the police made some attempts at positive PR in this country [using actions not words], and although I agree with ZERO tolerance, we need to remember we are supposed to be a democratic society that treats its citizens in a humane and dignified way. What happened to innocent until proven guilty…? These people were treated [and called] ‘criminals’ before the court of law threw the case out! Thanks for this post Paul!

  4. I just think it is high time that the police made some attempts at positive PR in this country [using actions not words], and although I agree with ZERO tolerance, we need to remember we are supposed to be a democratic society that treats its citizens in a humane and dignified way. What happened to innocent until proven guilty…? These people were treated [and called] ‘criminals’ before the court of law threw the case out! Thanks for this post Paul!

  5. Hey Paul, this story is super worrying, while I'm not sure of the penalties for these offenses, I'm pretty sure that these people could bring a claim against the police. Not to mention that they could bring a claim for their rights being breached. Section 35 2(a) of the constitution states that everybody has a right to be informed promptly for the reason why they are being detained, section 35 2(e) states that the conditions of the detention need to be humane, which includes adequate nutrition. I'm also pretty sure one could fit a dignity claim as well. Finally don't the police need an arrest warrant to actually arrest someone, and if they don't then, they need to reasonably believe that they would receive one when asked ? I know litigation costs are expensive, but I doubt that this is an isolated incident, so I'm pretty sure there are grounds for a 'class action' suit of some sort. In the end though I suppose this is just hot air… the courts are already flooded with cases, and do we really need to be depriving the already underpaid police force (for those whom actually do their jobs) of their pay… *sigh*

  6. When it's your loved ones committing the crime it is labelled a mistake, when a taxi does it he/she are branded dogs, animals, rubbish, pigs. How is this fair?

    How bout showing some equality here. Breaking the law is breaking the law. there are no exceptions. Simple.

  7. Hey Paul, this story is super worrying, while I’m not sure of the penalties for these offenses, I’m pretty sure that these people could bring a claim against the police. Not to mention that they could bring a claim for their rights being breached. Section 35 2(a) of the constitution states that everybody has a right to be informed promptly for the reason why they are being detained, section 35 2(e) states that the conditions of the detention need to be humane, which includes adequate nutrition. I’m also pretty sure one could fit a dignity claim as well. Finally don’t the police need an arrest warrant to actually arrest someone, and if they don’t then, they need to reasonably believe that they would receive one when asked ? I know litigation costs are expensive, but I doubt that this is an isolated incident, so I’m pretty sure there are grounds for a ‘class action’ suit of some sort. In the end though I suppose this is just hot air… the courts are already flooded with cases, and do we really need to be depriving the already underpaid police force (for those whom actually do their jobs) of their pay… *sigh*

  8. Hey Paul, this story is super worrying, while I’m not sure of the penalties for these offenses, I’m pretty sure that these people could bring a claim against the police. Not to mention that they could bring a claim for their rights being breached. Section 35 2(a) of the constitution states that everybody has a right to be informed promptly for the reason why they are being detained, section 35 2(e) states that the conditions of the detention need to be humane, which includes adequate nutrition. I’m also pretty sure one could fit a dignity claim as well. Finally don’t the police need an arrest warrant to actually arrest someone, and if they don’t then, they need to reasonably believe that they would receive one when asked ? I know litigation costs are expensive, but I doubt that this is an isolated incident, so I’m pretty sure there are grounds for a ‘class action’ suit of some sort. In the end though I suppose this is just hot air… the courts are already flooded with cases, and do we really need to be depriving the already underpaid police force (for those whom actually do their jobs) of their pay… *sigh*

  9. Hey Paul, this story is super worrying, while I’m not sure of the penalties for these offenses, I’m pretty sure that these people could bring a claim against the police. Not to mention that they could bring a claim for their rights being breached. Section 35 2(a) of the constitution states that everybody has a right to be informed promptly for the reason why they are being detained, section 35 2(e) states that the conditions of the detention need to be humane, which includes adequate nutrition. I’m also pretty sure one could fit a dignity claim as well. Finally don’t the police need an arrest warrant to actually arrest someone, and if they don’t then, they need to reasonably believe that they would receive one when asked ? I know litigation costs are expensive, but I doubt that this is an isolated incident, so I’m pretty sure there are grounds for a ‘class action’ suit of some sort. In the end though I suppose this is just hot air… the courts are already flooded with cases, and do we really need to be depriving the already underpaid police force (for those whom actually do their jobs) of their pay… *sigh*

  10. When it’s your loved ones committing the crime it is labelled a mistake, when a taxi does it he/she are branded dogs, animals, rubbish, pigs. How is this fair?

    How bout showing some equality here. Breaking the law is breaking the law. there are no exceptions. Simple.

  11. When it’s your loved ones committing the crime it is labelled a mistake, when a taxi does it he/she are branded dogs, animals, rubbish, pigs. How is this fair?

    How bout showing some equality here. Breaking the law is breaking the law. there are no exceptions. Simple.

  12. When it’s your loved ones committing the crime it is labelled a mistake, when a taxi does it he/she are branded dogs, animals, rubbish, pigs. How is this fair?

    How bout showing some equality here. Breaking the law is breaking the law. there are no exceptions. Simple.

  13. Well, Nic isn't that the point? From what's been described there hasn't been an equal level of treatment, the general public are being arrested, for minor crimes, which don't even warrant them, while taxi drivers are let off scot free for the same or even worse offences. I don't think people have any problem with the fact that the driver got punished for her wrong doing, but the treatment she received and the blatant disregard for the law shown by the metro police is something to be worried about. Perhaps your right, if this story was raised by a taxi driver, then people wouldn't care at all, but that doesn't mean it is still right, often people will only be called to action when a problem strikes close to home. The thing is if this sort of brutality is being implemented on a daily basis, even if it is happening to hardened convicted criminals, it is still wrong, and it needs to be sorted out, hopefully now people will be prepared to take action, what that action is though i don't know…

  14. Well, Nic isn’t that the point? From what’s been described there hasn’t been an equal level of treatment, the general public are being arrested, for minor crimes, which don’t even warrant them, while taxi drivers are let off scot free for the same or even worse offences. I don’t think people have any problem with the fact that the driver got punished for her wrong doing, but the treatment she received and the blatant disregard for the law shown by the metro police is something to be worried about. Perhaps your right, if this story was raised by a taxi driver, then people wouldn’t care at all, but that doesn’t mean it is still right, often people will only be called to action when a problem strikes close to home. The thing is if this sort of brutality is being implemented on a daily basis, even if it is happening to hardened convicted criminals, it is still wrong, and it needs to be sorted out, hopefully now people will be prepared to take action, what that action is though i don’t know…

  15. Well, Nic isn’t that the point? From what’s been described there hasn’t been an equal level of treatment, the general public are being arrested, for minor crimes, which don’t even warrant them, while taxi drivers are let off scot free for the same or even worse offences. I don’t think people have any problem with the fact that the driver got punished for her wrong doing, but the treatment she received and the blatant disregard for the law shown by the metro police is something to be worried about. Perhaps your right, if this story was raised by a taxi driver, then people wouldn’t care at all, but that doesn’t mean it is still right, often people will only be called to action when a problem strikes close to home. The thing is if this sort of brutality is being implemented on a daily basis, even if it is happening to hardened convicted criminals, it is still wrong, and it needs to be sorted out, hopefully now people will be prepared to take action, what that action is though i don’t know…

  16. Well, Nic isn’t that the point? From what’s been described there hasn’t been an equal level of treatment, the general public are being arrested, for minor crimes, which don’t even warrant them, while taxi drivers are let off scot free for the same or even worse offences. I don’t think people have any problem with the fact that the driver got punished for her wrong doing, but the treatment she received and the blatant disregard for the law shown by the metro police is something to be worried about. Perhaps your right, if this story was raised by a taxi driver, then people wouldn’t care at all, but that doesn’t mean it is still right, often people will only be called to action when a problem strikes close to home. The thing is if this sort of brutality is being implemented on a daily basis, even if it is happening to hardened convicted criminals, it is still wrong, and it needs to be sorted out, hopefully now people will be prepared to take action, what that action is though i don’t know…

  17. I had a chat with Candice Jones from ITWeb who feels a similar way to Nic and while I am in favour of people being held accountable for their wrongdoings, I am not convinced that the measures taken are proportionate and that the Metro cops are acting consistently.

  18. I had a chat with Candice Jones from ITWeb who feels a similar way to Nic and while I am in favour of people being held accountable for their wrongdoings, I am not convinced that the measures taken are proportionate and that the Metro cops are acting consistently.

  19. I had a chat with Candice Jones from ITWeb who feels a similar way to Nic and while I am in favour of people being held accountable for their wrongdoings, I am not convinced that the measures taken are proportionate and that the Metro cops are acting consistently.

  20. I had a chat with Candice Jones from ITWeb who feels a similar way to Nic and while I am in favour of people being held accountable for their wrongdoings, I am not convinced that the measures taken are proportionate and that the Metro cops are acting consistently.

  21. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance, and that is the problem with zero tolerance. It doesn't allow for a sense of proportion.

    What we need is not zero tolerance, but a sense of proportion. Zero tolerance means punishing a morotist who looks both ways, sees the road is clear, and rolls across the line of a stop street at under 5 km/h in exactly the same way as one who drove through at full speed without looking.

    Taxi drivers often skip the queue waiting to turn and then rely on the kindness of others to let them in, or just push in. But if other motorists are never hauled up for these offences, they say that taxi drivers are being discriminated against.

  22. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance, and that is the problem with zero tolerance. It doesn’t allow for a sense of proportion.

    What we need is not zero tolerance, but a sense of proportion. Zero tolerance means punishing a morotist who looks both ways, sees the road is clear, and rolls across the line of a stop street at under 5 km/h in exactly the same way as one who drove through at full speed without looking.

    Taxi drivers often skip the queue waiting to turn and then rely on the kindness of others to let them in, or just push in. But if other motorists are never hauled up for these offences, they say that taxi drivers are being discriminated against.

  23. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance, and that is the problem with zero tolerance. It doesn’t allow for a sense of proportion.

    What we need is not zero tolerance, but a sense of proportion. Zero tolerance means punishing a morotist who looks both ways, sees the road is clear, and rolls across the line of a stop street at under 5 km/h in exactly the same way as one who drove through at full speed without looking.

    Taxi drivers often skip the queue waiting to turn and then rely on the kindness of others to let them in, or just push in. But if other motorists are never hauled up for these offences, they say that taxi drivers are being discriminated against.

  24. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance, and that is the problem with zero tolerance. It doesn’t allow for a sense of proportion.

    What we need is not zero tolerance, but a sense of proportion. Zero tolerance means punishing a morotist who looks both ways, sees the road is clear, and rolls across the line of a stop street at under 5 km/h in exactly the same way as one who drove through at full speed without looking.

    Taxi drivers often skip the queue waiting to turn and then rely on the kindness of others to let them in, or just push in. But if other motorists are never hauled up for these offences, they say that taxi drivers are being discriminated against.

  25. @Steve: I think the problem with the taxis is a result of necessity. They have a business to run and I wouldn't want to be in their shoes. This country hardly makes any provision for bus lanes or anything that would ease the traffic congestion for taxis.

  26. @Steve: I think the problem with the taxis is a result of necessity. They have a business to run and I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. This country hardly makes any provision for bus lanes or anything that would ease the traffic congestion for taxis.

  27. @Steve: I think the problem with the taxis is a result of necessity. They have a business to run and I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. This country hardly makes any provision for bus lanes or anything that would ease the traffic congestion for taxis.

  28. @Steve: I think the problem with the taxis is a result of necessity. They have a business to run and I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. This country hardly makes any provision for bus lanes or anything that would ease the traffic congestion for taxis.

  29. zero tolerance is bullshit.

    I don't agree with that policy at all.

    Most traffic violations are not arrestable offences.

    Metro cops should be disbanded. They are total arseholes. I hate them all. Sack the lot of them.

    Do not incorporate them into the SAPS. They're not fit to work as security guards.

  30. zero tolerance is bullshit.

    I don’t agree with that policy at all.

    Most traffic violations are not arrestable offences.

    Metro cops should be disbanded. They are total arseholes. I hate them all. Sack the lot of them.

    Do not incorporate them into the SAPS. They’re not fit to work as security guards.

  31. zero tolerance is bullshit.

    I don’t agree with that policy at all.

    Most traffic violations are not arrestable offences.

    Metro cops should be disbanded. They are total arseholes. I hate them all. Sack the lot of them.

    Do not incorporate them into the SAPS. They’re not fit to work as security guards.

  32. zero tolerance is bullshit.

    I don’t agree with that policy at all.

    Most traffic violations are not arrestable offences.

    Metro cops should be disbanded. They are total arseholes. I hate them all. Sack the lot of them.

    Do not incorporate them into the SAPS. They’re not fit to work as security guards.

  33. Nic and those simple minded folk like you…..it is not about the right or wrong of the offence we are arguing, rather the fact that you can be locked up and a court order from the pretoria high court demanding your immediate release can be totally ignored by the police with the comment 'we dont listen to judges we do things our way' that is the most disturbing aspect of this situation, as well as the verbal and mental abuse these people had to endure! (i know I was there!!!). So get off the moral high ground and start trying to realise the horror of having one of your loved ones go through this, the helplessness of knowing that the only thing that helped them was the fact that a supreme judge was ready to issue warrants of arrest for the police officers/captain and commissioner!Rather than sit in their own sewer pit they eventually released these poor people!!!!!Try and get the point!

  34. Nic and those simple minded folk like you…..it is not about the right or wrong of the offence we are arguing, rather the fact that you can be locked up and a court order from the pretoria high court demanding your immediate release can be totally ignored by the police with the comment ‘we dont listen to judges we do things our way’ that is the most disturbing aspect of this situation, as well as the verbal and mental abuse these people had to endure! (i know I was there!!!). So get off the moral high ground and start trying to realise the horror of having one of your loved ones go through this, the helplessness of knowing that the only thing that helped them was the fact that a supreme judge was ready to issue warrants of arrest for the police officers/captain and commissioner!Rather than sit in their own sewer pit they eventually released these poor people!!!!!Try and get the point!

  35. Nic and those simple minded folk like you…..it is not about the right or wrong of the offence we are arguing, rather the fact that you can be locked up and a court order from the pretoria high court demanding your immediate release can be totally ignored by the police with the comment ‘we dont listen to judges we do things our way’ that is the most disturbing aspect of this situation, as well as the verbal and mental abuse these people had to endure! (i know I was there!!!). So get off the moral high ground and start trying to realise the horror of having one of your loved ones go through this, the helplessness of knowing that the only thing that helped them was the fact that a supreme judge was ready to issue warrants of arrest for the police officers/captain and commissioner!Rather than sit in their own sewer pit they eventually released these poor people!!!!!Try and get the point!

  36. Nic and those simple minded folk like you…..it is not about the right or wrong of the offence we are arguing, rather the fact that you can be locked up and a court order from the pretoria high court demanding your immediate release can be totally ignored by the police with the comment ‘we dont listen to judges we do things our way’ that is the most disturbing aspect of this situation, as well as the verbal and mental abuse these people had to endure! (i know I was there!!!). So get off the moral high ground and start trying to realise the horror of having one of your loved ones go through this, the helplessness of knowing that the only thing that helped them was the fact that a supreme judge was ready to issue warrants of arrest for the police officers/captain and commissioner!Rather than sit in their own sewer pit they eventually released these poor people!!!!!Try and get the point!

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: