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Video: EMPD officer threatens to shoot Man with rubber bullet at close range

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EMPD officer threatens to shoot man with rubber bullet at close range

Disciplinary action is urged to be taken against an Ekurhuleni Metro Police (EMPD) officer after he was caught on camera insisting on shooting a suspect at close range with a rubber bullet.

In a video shared on Twitter account @crimeairnetwork, six to seven officers were seen in a scuffle with a suspect while another officer held a shotgun to the face and upper body of their suspect.

According to the Twitter account, the officers were driving into oncoming traffic and the scuffle ensued after the man “challenged” the members for the transgression, “which didn’t go down well with the metro officer”.

In the video, a person can be heard shouting “you want to shoot at close range?” and “you said you going to shoot him at close range” while the armed officer shouts back “ja!”

The officers are then heard saying “take a video, it’s fine” as the cameraman reassures them that he has captured it all.

But according to EMPD spokesperson, it was not yet known what had transpired. The man that was threatened to be shot was in fact arrested and expected to appear in court today. The incident happened on Wednesday.

“Currently the matter is handled by South African Police Service (SAPS). The gentleman being arrested there slept in jail. All I can say is that the matter is being investigated and we involved our internal affairs team for integrity and standards to get to the bottom of this to find out exactly what happened.”

Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said the man was detained for intimidation and crimen injuria. She could however not confirm what led to the charges.

“Two suspects were arrested yesterday by EMPD and handed over to the SAPS in Springs and is expected to appear today before the Springs Magistrate’s Court on charges of resisting arrest, intimidation and crimen injuria,” she said.

Pointing a rubber firearm at the face of a suspect, even one firing rubber bullets, is serious negligence and recklessness, as certain protocols regarding the handling of such a firearm should be followed, said senior researcher of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Gareth Newham.

He said a close-range rubber bullet shot could cause long-lasting damage and even death such as in the case of Andries Tatane, who was fatally shot at close range by a rubber bullet during a protest in the Free State in 2011.

“It’s worrying when you point something like that at close range – they could lose an eye, you could cause severe skull damage, cracked skull, lose teeth, broken jaws, broken nose, they could require extensive surgery.”

“To even point a shotgun rubber bullet at close range to anybody is highly negligent and reckless. If you accidentally pull the trigger for whatever reason, in that case, the legal principle of dolus eventualis would come into play. If you actually killed somebody, even if you didn’t mean to, you could foresee it could cause serious damage. There should be an inquiry and that person should be charged with negligence and reckless behaviour and they will then have to give a version of why.”

-The Citizen

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