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DATE=4/21/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-248405 TITLE=SAF POLICE BRUTALITY (L ONLY) BYLINE=DELIA ROBERTSON DATELINE=JOHANNESBURG CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: EACH YEAR, THE SOUTH AFRICA POLICE SERVICE PAYS THREE-MILLION-DOLLARS IN COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS OF UNLAWFUL POLICE ACTION. AS V-O-A'S DELIA ROBERTSON REPORTS FROM JOHANNESBURG, IN A RECENT 11-MONTH PERIOD MORE THAN 650 PEOPLE DIED EITHER IN POLICE CUSTODY OR AS A RESULT OF POLICE ACTION. TEXT: THE STATISTICS INDICATE BRUTALITY IN THE SOUTH-AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE IS ENDEMIC. IN 11-MONTHS, THE INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS COMMISSION HAS RECEIVED COMPLAINTS OF 666 DEATHS, 270 CASES OF SERIOUS ASSAULT OR ATTEMPTED MURDER, 58 CASES OF TORTURE AND 68 OF COMMON ASSAULT ALLEGEDLY CAUSED BY MEMBERS OF THE SERVICE. THE COMMISSION IS TASKED WITH INVESTIGATING UNLAWFUL ACTIVITY IN THE POLICE SERVICE. THESE STATISTICS WERE BROUGHT VIVIDLY TO LIFE IN A BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION DOCUMENTARY TELEVISED THIS WEEK IN SOUTH AFRICA. POLICE OFFICERS, AWARE THEY WERE BEING FILMED, BEAT AND SET DOGS ONTO SUSPECTS -- SOME OF WHOM HAD ALREADY BEEN SERIOUSLY INJURED IN A CAR CRASH. ONE SUSPECT SUBSEQUENTLY DIED. MANY SOUTH AFRICANS, WHO DAILY FACE THE THREAT OF VIOLENT CRIME, CALLED TALKS SHOWS TO APPLAUD THE ACTIONS OF THE POLICE. BUT THE SIX WHITE OFFICERS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED WHILE THE COMPLAINTS COMMISSION INVESTIGATES THE CASES. POLICE COMMISSIONER GEORGE FIVAZ CONDEMNED THE BEHAVIOR OF THE OFFICERS, SAYING THEY DEMONSTRATED A SHOCKING DISREGARD FOR BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. BUT HE SAYS POLICE OFFICERS IN SOUTH AFRICA ARE SUBJECTED TO INTENSE LEVELS OF STRESS FOR LONG PERIODS AT A TIME. MR. FIVAZ SAID THE POLICE SERVICE DOES NOT HAVE ADEQUATE MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT SYSTEMS FOR POORLY PAID OFFICERS WHO ARE EXPOSED DAILY TO VIOLENCE AND TRAUMA. MORE THAN 200 POLICE OFFICERS WERE KILLED ON DUTY LAST YEAR. FIFTY-THOUSAND MURDERS WERE PERPETRATED IN SOUTH AFRICA IN A RECENT TWELVE-MONTH PERIOD. TRAINEE POLICE OFFICERS ARE INVOLVED IN MORE SHOOTOUTS IN THEIR FIRST YEAR ON DUTY THAN ARE UNITED STATES POLICE OFFICERS IN AN ENTIRE CAREER. THE SOUTH-AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION SAID SOME SOUTH AFRICANS VIEW THE BRUTALIZATION OF SUSPECTS AS A TRIUMPHANT REVENGE OF LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS AGAINST CRIMINALS. THE COMMISSION SAID CITIZENS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE SAFE -- A RIGHT THREATENED NOT ONLY BY VIOLENT CRIMINALS BUT ALSO BY VIOLENT POLICE OFFICERS. (SIGNED) NEB/DAR/ALW/RAE 21-Apr-99 11:53 AM EDT (1553 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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