Teen shot dead by cops

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Teen shot dead by cops

Postby Koos Custodiet » Tue, 2009-09-08 10:32

Teen shot dead by cops
September 08 2009 at 08:54AM


http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 144C812038

By Alex Eliseev and Shaun Smillie


A 15-year-old boy is dead and three of his friends are in hospital
after they were allegedly shot by Ekurhuleni metro police department (EMPD)
officers dispersing a neighbourhood party.


The Delmore Park community are furious at what they consider to have
been unprovoked violence by officers acting "like gangsters".


Alexander Thys died after being shot in the head, chest and groin on
Sunday. His three friends suffered multiple wounds over their bodies.


It's believed they were fired upon with birdshot or buckshot -
pellet-like ammunition that EMPD officers used during the xenophobia attacks
in the nearby Ramaphosa settlement last year.


Alexander appears to have been hit in or near his heart and lungs.


The EMPD have denied using buckshot, saying they were forced to use
rubber bullets to disperse a crowd who were verbally assaulting them and
"pelting them with an assortment of missiles".


Three other boys - Christopher Bosch, Ethan Erasmus and Shan Sebatie -
were recovering in Natalspruit Hospital yesterday.


X-rays revealed pea-sized pellets on Christopher's legs, abdomen and
thigh, while one bullet had passed through his right ear lobe, entered his
neck and settled next to his spine. Christopher and Ethan had to undergo
abdominal surgery to remove the pellets.


A trauma surgeon, who saw a copy of an X-ray of one of the boys that
showed the projectiles still in his body, believes at least one of the
injured boys was hit with birdshot or buckshot. "Those ain't rubber bullets,
they are too small for rubber," he said.


The surgeon added that they were widely dispersed across the body,
suggesting a shotgun injury.


"From the wide dispersal, I would say it was fired from between 20 and
30 metres away," he added.


Christopher said four metro police officers had opened fire on them
from a distance of between 10 and 50m. "They shouted f**ken Boesman
(Bushman) and started shooting," said Christopher.


Yesterday, Thys's father Willem identified his son's body at the
Germiston mortuary and said he had run out of tears to cry for the boy, who
had excelled at school.


Alexander was due to turn 16 next month.


On Sunday evening he went to visit a friend at the party. He joined a
group of six boys, including his 17-year-old brother Gavin.


The party was organised by the community, and one was held last year
as well. The parents knew the youths were having a few drinks but didn't
mind because they could keep an eye on them.


There was a DJ, and many cars playing music.


EMPD officers moved in during the evening. They confronted community
leader Wayne van Zyl and ordered him to tell the partygoers to disperse.


Van Zyl complied and went home to fetch his camera, hoping to document
the abuse he claims the officers were dishing out.


"As I was taking photos, they (officers) grabbed me from behind. They
choked me until I released the camera and fell on the ground. Then they
kicked me and smashed my camera," Van Zyl said.


He and 20 youths were held at the Reiger Park police station for about
four hours. They were released after EMPD officers left the scene without
charging them.


Van Zyl has laid charges against the EMPD.


According to Gavin, the boys were leaving when the shots rang out. The
group scattered and ran towards the houses across the road.


Christopher, Ethan and Shan reached their homes, but Alexander
collapsed near the road, where his father later found him. Neighbours said
the boy was coughing up blood.


Delmore resident Arthur Madumbo said the EMPD "came with an intention
to destroy" the party.


"They abused their power," he said. "We have naughty children, but we
really didn't mind (the bash) yesterday. No EMPD life was in danger."


Other neighbours near the park said people wanted to leave the party
but couldn't because of the road blockades set up by the police.


"The metro cops were the culprits. They are gangsters," said a woman
into whose house one of the boys ran.


EMPD spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilfred Kgasago said
investigations were under way to get to the bottom of the matter.


He said officers had received reports of an illegal closure of streets
and unruly behaviour. They had tried to persuade the residents to stop, but
couldn't.


"Due to this unruly behaviour, police were compelled to use rubber
bullets ... The EMPD does not issue buckshot ammunition and uses only rubber
bullets for crowd control," Kgasago insisted.


a.. This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on
September 08, 2009
Koos Custodiet
 
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