This sounds vaguely familiar.


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KP95DAO
January 8, 2003, 09:35 PM
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id=15&art_id=vn20030108153845159C452011&set_id=1

Police 'go on rampage' during Cape gang war

January 08 2003 at 03:38PM



Police allegedly ran amok in an Athlone residential area where residents have been under siege because of gang warfare since the weekend.

In addition, during the early hours of Wednesday morning, a shebeen owner's house was shot up, allegedly by members of the Americans gang.

Police members, accused of brutality, are facing an internal probe that will investigate allegations of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and malicious damage to property.

Residents living in Kew Town lodged four complaints against the police. The complaints are being addressed by the internal police investigation unit.

'Do they belong in a zoo or Lentegeur Hospital for the insane?'
Angry people complained that police who went on the rampage on Saturday night had not been wearing their name tags. One resident asked: "Do they belong in a zoo or Lentegeur Hospital for the insane?"

Trouble started on Saturday night as the Dixie Boys and the Americans clashed in a fierce gun battle that lasted until Sunday afternoon.

The two gangs have clashed every day since.

While Athlone police were trying to quell warfare on Saturday night, shots were fired at the police, who then called for back-up.

Other police units arrived and chaos erupted.

'We might live in the slums of Cape Town, but the majority of us are good'
Policemen, apparently chasing runaway gangsters, allegedly kicked in residents' doors, ran into houses, threw food out of fridges and cupboards, overturned beds and assaulted law-abiding people.

One of the residents under police attack was Llewellyn Brown, 29, who explained how he was hit over the head with the butt of a shotgun, and assaulted by police officers.

"Most of the people living in Kew Town are decent, law-abiding people, most wanting to help police fight crime. But I have lost my respect for the police after they assaulted me," he said.

"There were about 200 police running around acting crazy."

He said he and his wife Natasha arrived home with their three children and saw the police, with guns drawn, running around searching people.

Brown said: "I told my wife to take the children inside, while I asked a friend what was going on.

"One of the men the policemen were assaulting broke loose and ran off.

"A policeman calmly lifted his shotgun and fired a shot at the man, in the direction my wife and children were walking home."

Brown said he alerted the police officer that his family were walking in the line of fire, and that he should be careful.

"But he came over to me and started smacking me across the face, and hit me with the butt of the shotgun on my head.

"Then more policemen came running and also started to hit and kick me.

"I was then forced into the back of a police van, driven around for a long time and eventually released."

Brown said he then walked to the Athlone police station because his wife had gone there to look for him.

He said when he arrived at the station there were about 50 people standing at a locked gate, all wanting to lodge complaints against the police.

Brown managed to get into the station where his wife was inquiring about him.

He reported an assault case against the police, and said that an officer eventually took down his statement after another police officer laughed at him, refusing to help him.

Another resident, who asked not to be named, told of how a young woman was thrown to the ground and kicked by five police officers after objecting to being searched by them.

Residents claimed children as young as six were smacked and pushed around.

A bed-ridden, ill man was forcefully thrown off his bed.

Police officers allegedly shouted to protesting women that they were "whores", and their children "bastards".

One resident said: "No respect was shown to anybody, old or young."

A woman resident, asking not to be named, said: "We might live in the slums of Cape Town, but the majority of us are good, decent, law-abiding people and not animals."

She estimated there were 150 police officers, and during the chaos they appeared to even shoot at each other instead of stopping the gang war.

"I was sitting on our balcony when I saw the police assaulting people with batons, helmets and butts of shotguns.

"Our door was kicked down when 10 police rushed inside.

"Instead of searching the house, they trashed our house by throwing out our food from the fridge and cupboards, and broke eggs.

"I heard my baby crying and ran to the room where I saw a policeman lifting up the bed with my baby lying there.

"I tried to stop him but he smacked me and threw me on to the bed.

"I thought he was going to rape me, but my older six-year-old child ran inside and was also smacked by the policeman, who laughed and told me I was a whore.

Some people said that the Dixie Boys gang was protecting the community against an attempt by the Americans gang to take over control of Kew Town.

When gang violence erupted on Saturday night, the Kew Town Entertainers - a minstrel group - were busy amusing the residents.

Police officers said gangsters had run into homes, and some people had refused to tell police where gang members were hiding out.

Approached for comment, Athlone Police Commissioner Lavonna Januarie confirmed there had been a fierce gun battle between the Dixie Boys and the Americans in Kew Town.

She said that seven people were arrested for public violence, and that after the police had spoken to the warring gangs, peace was restored.

Athlone police detective, Chief Johan Brand, said that four cases against the police were reported by residents, and that these cases were referred to the internal investigation unit.

He said that his investigators were probing a case of public violence, and another of attempted murder after members of the crime prevention unit came under fire

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