[Fwd: Woman driver "allegedly" beaten by cop]

By Nompumelelo Magwaza and Yusuf Moolla

A Camperdown woman fleeing a man she believed might be a hijacker drove
to a police station for safety. But instead of finding refuge, she was
assaulted by her pursuer, who turned out to be a traffic officer, while
police stood by and did nothing.

To add insult to injury, the woman was then arrested by Camperdown police.

Farmer PJ Ward said his wife, Jude, was driving in the fast lane along
the N3 from Pietermaritzburg when a man in a white unmarked twin-cab
bakkie tried to pass her. As she tried to move from the fast lane, the
man placed a blue light on the bakkie's roof and chased after her.

Suspecting a hijack attempt, Ward said, his wife decided to drive to the
Camperdown police station because she thought she would be safe there.

"My wife could not move immediately from the fast lane, so the man in
the bakkie put up his blue light and pressed behind her. After she
moved, the man wagged his finger at her. She decided to stop at a nearby
police station for safety."

However, said Ward, instead of receiving the protection she sought, his
wife was *assaulted in front of police officers*.

"When she got off her car, the man, who was wearing a brown traffic
officer's uniform, attacked her by grabbing her neck and pushing her
into the ground. He jumped on top of her and grabbed her bag. All of
this happened in front of police officers, who just watched."

He said the man, believed to be a member of the Road Traffic
Inspectorate's public transport enforcement unit, told his wife, while
on top of her, that she should look at his uniform and obey his orders.
He said the man weighed about 120kg and was in his thirties.

"He choked her and banged her head on the ground. These officers are
supposed to protect the public, but instead they use their positions to
show that they have power and should be feared," said Ward.

He said his wife was traumatised by the assault and even more shocked
when she later ended up behind bars for not obeying an officer's orders,
while the traffic officer went unpunished.

"What is wrong with the law enforcers in this country? My wife was only
trying to find a safe place to stop so that she could talk to this man;
instead, she was attacked."

Ward said his wife was checked by a doctor for internal injuries. She
was released on a warning to appear in the Camperdown Magistrate's Court

"Jude had bruises to her neck and arms, and was bloodied as well," he said.

"For 30 years I loved this country with all my heart, but now all I want
to do is leave. I am tired of living in fear, not only of criminals, but
of police brutality as well," he said, adding he was determined to
return to Ireland.

He said he would contact the Irish embassy to report the matter and seek
its assistance in leaving the country.

* *This article was originally published on page 1 of **The Mercury*
<http://www.themercury.co.za/>* on January 19, 2010 *


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