Man sues cops for R1.2m damages over assault
TAXPAYERS will have to pay for the pain inflicted on a Mafikeng man by the police, which started with a complaint by a neighbour that he had assaulted his 3-year-old stepdaughter.
Petrus Tshisi was left with injuries across his body, before he was thrown into a police vehicle and locked up in a cell for a few hours.
Tshisi claimed R1.2 million in damages from the Police Ministry, saying the incident not only left him with physical scars, but post-traumatic stress disorder as well.
When accused by the police of assaulting the child, Tshisi said he loved her like his own. He explained to the high court sitting in Mafikeng that he sometimes gave the child a hiding to reprimand her, “like any other adult would, but not to kill her”.
However, he admitted that he does pinch the child, but not to the extent of “pulling her flesh off”.
Tshisi, who lived with his girlfriend and the child in a village near Rustenburg, said his girlfriend phoned him on January 23, 2012, to tell him the police were looking for him.
He at first did not believe her, but after the police ordered him to go home, he realised there were problems.
The police were waiting for him and asked him about hitting the child. He tried to explain that he only gave her the occasional hiding. However, he said one of the officers grabbed him by the throat and slapped him.
Another officer assaulted him with “a wet tekkie” on his back, while he was also kicked on his body. One of the officers said “let’s take this dog to the police station”.
He got into the police van, with his girlfriend and the child.
Tshisi said his girlfriend was forced to make a statement against him, but she refused and she said he did not hit the child. The three were later taken home by the police and nothing came of the charges against the stepfather.
Tshisi said he could not walk the next morning as he was in so much pain. He went to a doctor, who had recorded that he suffered from a fractured rib, multiple bruises across his face and injuries to his private parts.
His girlfriend told the court that she had never laid the charges against him.
The police, however, testified that they had received a call from a member of the community that his neighbour had assaulted the child.
They said they went to Tshisi’s home and spoke to him and his girlfriend about the neighbour’s accusation.
According to them, both did not respond when asked about the assaults and they thus concluded the man was guilty.
They denied assaulting Tshisi, but could not explain the host of injuries he had suffered and the pictures taken of his injuries to support his claims.
The police were also at a loss for words as to why they did not speak to the neighbour to obtain details of the alleged assault on the child.
Judge JT Djaje questioned the fact that the police, in light of the medical evidence regarding Tshisi’s injuries, simply denied that he was assaulted. He rejected their version and said they could not simply take the law into their own hands in dealing with a complaint.
He concluded that the police were 100% liable for Tshisi’s damages.
Jean-Paul Rudd, Tshisi’s lawyer, said they would now obtain the reports from the experts to testify on the damages his clients had suffered and how much in damages he should receive.
They could not simply take the law into their own hands