Ladysmith police refuse to help man in charge office, then assault him

The irony of the police officer walking past a Batho Pele poster should not be lost on anyone
The irony of the police officer walking past a Batho Pele poster should not be lost on anyone

When Jacques Barnard went to lay charges of assault against someone who had attacked him at the Ladysmith police station on Monday night, police refused to help him.

They just told him he was drunk and he should get in his car and drive himself home.

The irony of accusing him of being drunk and then telling him to drive himself home did not escape 34-year-old Barnard.

“I had one beer and was definitely not drunk. I kept asking them to lay a charge and they just ignored me, so I took out my phone and started recording them,” he told the Ladysmith Gazette in an exclusive interview.

As can be seen when viewing the video, a police officer among the group threatened to smash the phone.

He can be seen clearly walking towards the complainant, ironically walking past a massive SAPS Batho Pele poster.

“The officer attacked me while his colleagues all laughed.”

For his trouble, Barnard was arrested, charged and placed in cells for over four hours before being released. He is set to appear in court on March 30.

He is currently investigating legal options with his attorneys.

Police spokesperson Captain Charmaine Struwig  indicated that police viewed the video  and confirmed the arrest of Barnard.

“Police cannot lay charges if a person is under the influence,” says Captain Struwig.

“We have viewed the video clip and have looked into the matter. The individual in the video clip approached the Ladysmith Community Service Centre to open a case. At the time, he was highly under the influence of liquor and his charge was refused. He was duly informed of the refusal and it was recorded as such in our registers,” said Captain Struwig.

“He was requested to return later in the morning when he was sober again. Unfortunately, he reacted badly to this request and refused to leave. Instead, he displayed disruptive behaviour which resulted in his arrest for being drunk in a public place. He was released a few hours later after he was sober and was issued with a warning to appear in the Ladysmith Magistrate’s Court on March 30 on the arrest charge.”

Captain Struwig warned, “It is important for members of the community to understand that police cannot open cases for someone who is highly under the influence of liquor and that the charge will be refused. They will be requested to return once sober. Where individuals become aggressive and confrontational, they leave police with no other option but to arrest them for being drunk in a public place.”

Videos similar to this are being used to highlight crimes.

(Warning: the video contains violence and profanity)

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Rod Skinner

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