Judgment on the bail application of four Katlehong police officers charged with the murder of Phekolomzi Tatsi is expected at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
They allegedly beat to death 49-year-old Tatsi when he was detained at Katlehong North police station early in March. Two victims who survived the alleged assault will be witnesses in the case.
The officers aged between 44 and 32 pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The officers claim after they arrested an alleged drunk driver, Tatsi and another passenger who were in the same car followed them to the police station.
Accused one’s lawyer, Bongeka Gqwede, says the victims were arrested for interfering with police duties.
“When arresting them, we were charging them for interfering with police duties. We then locked them up in our motor vehicle together with our initial suspect and they were shouting and screaming.”
All three were taken to Vosloorus hospital for blood tests. Gqwede says that they noticed one of the victims lying strangely while trying to draw their blood.
“At our arrival at the hospital, we opened the police vehicle at the back with the intention to take the suspects for the drawing of blood, but we noticed that one of our suspects laying in a strange manner. We tried to talk to him nothing came forth, we shook him, he did not respond.”
However, the two survivors contradict this. “The assault continued, they even poured water on their faces.”
They were allegedly kicked and beaten.
IPID Senior Investigator, Gladwin Ndlovu, says that the victims died from multiple blood force injuries.
“The cause of death of the deceased Mr Tatsi as per the pathologist’s findings, are that the deceased died as a result of multiple blood force injuries. The observations made by the pathologists are that the deceased sustained multiple rib fractures, which led to collapse of the rib cage. He sustained head injuries and suffered severe internal bleeding.”
The four officers pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, two counts of assault and defeating the ends of justice. Judgement has been reserved until Monday. They remain in custody.
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