Man dragged behind police van ‘grabbed officer’s gun’

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A SOUTH AFRICAN policeman charged with murdering a taxi driver, who was dragged along behind a police vehicle, has testified the man insulted him and grabbed a fellow officer’s gun.

The killing of Mozambican Mido Macia, 27, who died in police custody on 26 February, shocked the world after video footage of him being tied to a police vehicle by officers and dragged down a street was posted online.

Protesters gathered outside Benoni Magistrates’ Court, east of Johannesburg, yesterday to demand the officers not be granted bail. Eight officers were initially arrested, and local media reported a ninth was also detained.

During the bail hearing, a lawyer for officer Thamsanqa Ncema, 35, read out his statement. Ncema said Mr Macia was blocking the road with his car. “I asked him to move and he insulted me and told me I am a ‘useless cop’,” the statement said.

Ncema said Mr Macia grabbed an officer’s gun and pointed it at them before handing it back. Then an altercation started and Mr Macia was arrested when police back-up arrived, and taken to the station in Daveyton, a township east of Johannesburg.

“I was caught by surprise to be told that the person had died, as he has never complained about any injuries,” Ncema said.

South Africa’s police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, said Mr Macia suffered head injuries and internal bleeding. The hearing is set to continue on Monday.