- Douglasdale Police Station.
- Woman detained for alleged DUI and blood forcibly drawn.
- Restrained by two male police officers and one casually clothed male individual.
- No gloves used handling medical equipment or during procedure.
- Syringe used had exposed needle whilst laying on the table.
- Police officer threatens to pepper spray and fight the parties recording the video.
- Police officer tries to push/apprehend one man, misses and hits into the prefabricated unit shouting “Ow!”
Social media was set a twitter on 8 July as a video recording (below) detailing the excessive force, degrading treatment and perceivable assault of a young woman whilst in Douglasdale Police Station official’s custody. She had allegedly been driving under the influence of alcohol and failed a breathalyzer test at a road block, at which point she was taken to Douglasdale Police Station for further processing.
The issue at hand is separate from the issue of driving under the influence of alcohol and guilt thereto. The issue is the perceived assault and very real human rights violations evident in this violent recorded video:
International Human Rights Law lays down the obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/human-rights/
Article 5 of the International Human Rights Law stipulates that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
As far as alleged assault goes, the following definition of assault, as per South African Common Law, is an excerpt from the SAPS’s website:
Assault consists of unlawfully and intentionally
– applying force to the person of another;
– inspiring a belief in another person that force is immediately to be applied to him or her;
– Assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. This is another form of assault, however, committed with the intention to cause serious bodily injury.https://www.saps.gov.za/faqdetail.php?fid=9
In lieu of the above one must consider that the manner in which the detainee was restrained by a male police officer, as he appears to be standing between her legs and holds her down with the weight of his body. This whilst another police officer, as well as a casually dressed male also forcibly restrain her. Even when she is not being restrained for blood she is being held and restrained, there seems to be no time when she does not have a set of hands on her. The scene, now witnessed by tens of thousands, brings to mind the horrific first hand recounts of numerous rape incidents:
“He had my hands pinned and all of his body weight upon me.”https://theglobepost.com/2018/10/19/martinez-sexual-assault-kavanaugh/
“She said he held her down with his body weight and penetrated her against her will.”https://time.com/3534576/university-of-florida-player-rape-accusation-text/
“I said no and he pushed me face-down. I was powerless under his weight,” Aurélie wrote.”https://www.channel24.co.za/Gossip/News/second-woman-accuses-gossip-girl-star-of-rape-20171109
Further to the overt lewdness of the above, the woman carrying out the procedure, whose credentials are currently in question by the public, does not visibly follow any hygiene procedures. She does not wear gloves and uses an exposed needle, which has been lying on the table, to draw blood. She then takes gauze from the casually clothed man, who is also not wearing gloves, and finally attempts to obstruct the view of the camera with her right hand as her left hand is assumedly holding the needle in the detained woman’s arm. The detained woman screams in pain at this point telling the officers to take out the needle.
There is apparent amusement of on lookers in the prefabricated unit, which is filled with a medley of uniformed officers and what can only be presumed to be, civilians or plain clothes police officers, as they are casually dressed. At least one casually dressed individual and one uniformed female police officer are video recorded smiling and presumably laughing at the young woman’s distress and degradation as she is forcibly restrained and degraded. The female police officer, whilst the detainee is screaming, places her own hand over her own mouth as if to imply that the officers detaining the woman should hold their hands over her mouth and then smiles and or laughs.
All of the above takes place in full view of at least nine persons present in the prefabricated unit, and there is at least one apparent official outside trying to chase the woman’s companions away. The amusement, physical restraint by application of body weight by a male police officer, neglected hygiene in itself and the willful infliction of pain, otherwise known as torture, are clear violations of article 5 of the International Human Rights Law.
With regards to the South African Bill of Rights, we can assume that there have been at least eight contraventions from chapter two:
9. Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
10. Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.
Freedom and security of the person
12. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right—
(a) not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause;
(b) not to be detained without trial;
(c) to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources;
(d) not to be tortured in any way; and
(e) not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.
(2) Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right—
(a) to make decisions concerning reproduction;
(b) to security in and control over their body; and
(c) not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without their informed consent.
The MMC of Public Safety, Michael Sun, addressed the issue swiftly in a press statement dated 8 July 2019:
“I have noted with concern a video circulating on social media of a woman being restrained by Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officer while another person, purported to be a nurse, appears to prepare to draw blood from the resident. The individual had allegedly failed a breathalyzer test necessitating JMPD to arrest and take her to the Douglasdale Police Station, north of Johannesburg for further processing. It is critical to note that the law does permit a police officer to physically restrain a person who refuses to provide a blood sample for law enforcement purposes. The City on noting this incident, has already commenced an internal investigation into the events leading up to the incident as well as to determine whether the appropriate use of force was used by law enforcement officials. If anyone is found guilty of any wrongdoing, they will face appropriate and swift disciplinary action.”Michael Sun, MMC Public Safety
Final Point – Opinion:
There are mounting reports, nationwide, concerning police brutality, which have also included numerous rape allegations and the resultant high profile cases in the media. With the failure of police to respond timeously, if at all, to reported crimes, one is left to wonder whether the police officers littering the room, with a total of at least three different men having retrained one woman, would be better utilised responding to the mounting violent crimes that have become a scourge in the Douglasdale, Fourways and Bryanston areas instead of hanging around the prefab using the degradation of a young woman to get their jollies.
The lack of transparency, attempt to hide their actions, obvious terror of the detainee, unsanitary conditions and violence witnessed first hand lead one to wonder whether the detainee was in fear of a conviction, as many on social media have chimed in, an infection, disease or worse.
Below are stills from the video detailing key points in the events that took place as well as a detailed audio and video transcript:
Warning: The imagery and audio content of the video is not suitable for sensitive audiences or children. Viewer discretion is advised.
*We have detailed the happenings below for such reader’s benefit.
0:00 0:19- Through a prefabricated unit window
– Background – detained woman screaming inside prefabricated unit.
– Male voice – “That’s my girlfriend man.”
– Female voice – inaudible
– Male voice – “You know that’s bad for her to draw blood, you were supposed to convince her. There’s nothing we can do”
– Female voice – inaudible
– Male voice – “It’s for the lawyers”
– The detained woman in question is seated at a desk closest to the window and we can see her right hand. As she struggles we see her foot lift near the left hip of the male police officer detaining her.
– To the right of the frame we see the rear view of a male metro police officer holding the young woman in question’s hand and arm down by the wrist, palm up, as she struggles and cries.
– To the left we see a woman in what seems to be casual wear, with a yellow jacket, white polar neck or snood/scarf and long necklace on. She is leaning over the table towards the detained woman doing something with her hands. She stops leaning over the table, stands upright and then picks up a syringe with a needle off of the table. The syringe needle is exposed with no protective covering before being picked up off of the table. She then picks up what looks as though may be a label and places it on the syringe. The woman in yellow is not wearing gloves.
– The table has what looks to be a blue plastic covering over the portion of the table where the woman’s arm is being restrained. There are several papers between the detained woman’s hand and the plastic cover.
– Behind the woman in yellow is another male in casual clothing.
– Across the table we see three individuals. One seated male in a casual white t-shirt, on his left (our right) is a seated metro police officer in uniform, and on her left (our right) is a standing male in a red and gray hoody and gray beanie (possible). The female police officer stands up, puts her hand over her own mouth whilst speaking in the direction of the detainee as if to visually communicate that this should be done to the detainee who is screaming throughout. She then speaks to the man behind the woman in yellow, looks in the direction of the detainee, sits and smiles and or laughs after nodding her head.
0:19 0:40- Through a prefabricated unit window
– Assumed male officer voice (shouting): “Hey, hey, hey. We will charge you with interference”.
– Detained woman stops screaming.
– Female voice: “That’s the only way. Ja, that’s the only way you can actually just publicise this.”
– Male voice: “These people will go so far with what it is they are doing man, I swear.”
– Male voice – “Bruno record from your side what they’re doing.”
– The male officer and woman in yellow both look toward the shouting. The officer leaves the detainee’s hand unrestrained, walks to the left, around the desk, and walks towards the right past the man in the gray beanie. At this point we see that the woman is also being physically detained by a second male police officer from behind by grasping her above her elbows on the top half of her arm. A third male uniformed police officer enters from the right, nearest the window and stands where the previous police officer was standing in order to obstruct the view.
0:40 – 01:15: Through prefabricated unit window:
– Police officer: “Guys, guys, move from here. I don’t want to use pepper spray. Move from here. Move. Move from here. Go guys. Leave, leave, leave here. Loop julle. Loop. Loop. Loop.”
– Detained woman starts screaming again.
– Police officer: “Chief, chief, leave all of you. No, no, no! Go here! Bru, bru, leave here man. Leave here! Ow! Loop man!”
– Police officer to young man after attempting to make physical contact with him: “Oh, jy wil baklei.Jy wil met may baklei.Huh. Jy wil met my baklei. You want to fight me.”
– Detained woman’s screams become hysterical: “Stop! Please stop!”
– The woman looks toward the camera still crying, looking afraid, whilst both police officers nearest the window continue to attempt to obstruct the view of the camera.
– The camera pans right as a police officer instructs the men outside the window to leave. When the detained woman begins crying again one of the men walks back to the window, lifts his camera phone up and begins recording again.
– The police officer instructing the men to leave then tries to stop the young man filming, hits into the prefabricated unit as the young man dodges his advance and exclaims, “Ow”. The police officer then attempts to make physical contact with the young man and the young man pushes his hands away, avoiding the officer, and recording him. The officer walks away and the young man runs to the window to continue recording as the screaming gets more hysterical.
01:15 – End: Through prefabricated window:
– Detained woman screaming hysterically.
– Detained woman screaming “[Expletive] hell! [Expletive] hell! Ow! [Expletive] it! Stop it. [Expletive]!
– Male voice “Guys you must record this hey”
– Male voice “I can’t believe what they’re doing.”
– Male police officer “Guys. Out. Get out of this area… [Inaudible}… do you understand? Please just go that side. Please we are asking now, nicely.”
– Detained woman “Take this thing out! Take this [expletive] thing out!”
– Original male police officer has returned and is restraining the detained woman by holding her down and laying his upper body on her. Her right thigh and knee are kicking up as she struggles. Her legs appear to be open as he appears to continue to press down further with his body weight.
– (Believed to be) the second male police officer that was restraining her is also seen holding her down.
– The woman in yellow appears to be taking the detained woman’s blood. The male seated behind the woman in yellow, also wearing a beanie, is standing up next to her and also appears to be holding the detained woman’s hand down. He then passes the woman in yellow a clear vial with his left hand and then passes her what looks like gauze. He is not wearing gloves. The woman in yellow then proceeds to utilise the apparent gauze out of sight and presumably appears to be applying pressure or pushing down on the woman’s arm at the site of the blood withdrawal.
– The woman in yellow, presumably still handling the needle whilst it is still inserted in the detainee’s arm with her left hand, leans towards the window and starts trying to obstruct the view of the camera at which point the detained woman begins screaming that she is in pain. The woman in yellow ignores the pain of the detained woman for roughly 14 seconds and continues to fiddle with the blinds on the window, vigorously. She then returns to her task without disinfecting her hands.