Eight South African cops held for dragging man to death

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 01, 2013 16:30 hrs

London, Mar 1 (IANS) Eight police officers in South Africa have been arrested over the death of a Mozambican man who was apparently dragged behind a police vehicle, BBC reported Friday.

An investigation was launched after video footage emerged showing the man hauled through the streets with his hands cuffed to a police van.

Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega thanked people for revealing "callous and unacceptable behaviour" while President Jacob Zuma called the incident "horrific" and "unacceptable".

The eight officers were initially suspended pending an investigation. It was later announced that they have been arrested and would appear in court March 4.

Taxi driver Mido Macia, 27, died of head injuries and internal bleeding after his arrest in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, a post-mortem examination found.

He was reportedly detained for parking his vehicle in a way that blocked traffic, BBC said.

The video, apparently recorded by a bystander on a mobile phone, shows a large crowd watching as uniformed policemen tie him to a van, dragging him as they drive away.

Public anger grew after the footage was telecast on TV.

South Africa's police watchdog - the Independent Police Investigative Directorate - is examining the video as part of its investigation.

A small group of protestors, mostly women, gathered Friday outside the police station where the taxi driver died in custody.

The South African Police Service expressed "extreme shock and outrage" at the mobile phone footage.

"From the video which has gone viral, it is obvious that the rights of Mido Macia were violated in the most extreme form," it said in a statement,

"The behaviour displayed in that video, when it is committed by police who are expected to serve and protect, is to be abhorred," it added.

More from Sify: