Cops’ lack of con­science

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION&ANALYSIS -

TO DESCRIBE as shock­ing an in­ci­dent in which po­lice of­fi­cers cov­ered up their in­com­pe­tence by chang­ing the facts of a crime scene where they had gunned down one of their own would be an un­der­state­ment.

Re­lat­ing the events of what hap­pened last Thurs­day morn­ing, the of­fi­cers said Katle­hong po­lice Con­sta­ble Tshepo Tladi was hit by rob­bers’ gun­fire dur­ing an ex­change of bul­lets dur­ing a rob­bery at a petrol sta­tion.

How­ever, video footage of the in­ci­dent has in­val­i­dated this.

The footage in­di­cates the po­lice­man was shot in the head from be­hind by a uni­formed po­lice of­fi­cer.

How can po­lice of­fi­cers, sworn un­der oath, lie in this man­ner?

Are th­ese the same of­fi­cers who swore to up­hold and safe­guard the fun­da­men­tal rights of every per­son as guar­an­teed by chap­ter 3 of the con­sti­tu­tion? Are th­ese the same of­fi­cers who swore to re­flect re­spect for vic­tims of crime? What about Tladi’s fun­da­men­tal rights and his fam­ily’s rights to know the truth?

Of­fi­cers are of­ten ac­cused of all man­ner of trans­gres­sions in­clud­ing con­tam­i­nat­ing crime scenes, over­look­ing vi­tal ev­i­dence that could nail per­pe­tra­tors, and lack­ing tac­ti­cal skills.

But to do this to their own col­league smacks of a to­tal lack of con­science.

This in­ci­dent has stripped South Africans of what­ever lit­tle con­fi­dence or hope they still had in the SAPS, not only be­cause of the lie, but be­cause it also points to the is­sue of po­lice tac­ti­cal train­ing, which was cast into the spot­light fol­low­ing the Marikana mas­sacre.

Other in­ci­dents, some­times com­i­cal, oc­curred over the years, in­clud­ing an in­ci­dent in Novem­ber 2014 when two po­lice of­fi­cers were held at gunpoint, dis­armed and locked up in the back of their marked van in Ra­bie Ridge, Ekurhuleni, in broad day­light.

Act­ing po­lice com­mis­sioner Lieu­tenan­tGen­eral Kho­motso Phahlane has said ac­tion would be taken against those in­volved.

We hope Tladi will get jus­tice.

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