CITY police officers have been caught on closed-circuit television cameras handcuffing a local nightclub owner and hitting him repeatedly on the head and body until he falls over.
The footage was captured by cameras in Woodstock’s Dreams Sports Bar late on Saturday night.
One series of images shows the bar’s owner, Nnamdi Muoka, standing next to a table and a couch, his hands cuffed behind his back, while a male police officer hits him with what looks like a torch.
Muoka is shown trying to evade the uniformed officer, who follows him around the couch and eventually corners him, beating him to the ground.
One of Muoka’s friends, Nicky Asher-Pedro, said she was also attacked by the officers from the Woodstock police station just before midnight on Saturday, while she was at the bar in Victoria Road.
Asher-Pedro, a former Bush Radio presenter and producer who now works for city magazine the Big Issue, said she was pepper-sprayed, manhandled and her skirt was torn by police officers after she questioned their attack on Muoka.
She, Muoka and the bar owner’s brother, Osita Nwadike, were arrested and detained in the Woodstock police station’s holding cells from the early hours of Sunday morning, before being released on warning on Monday.
The three are due to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s court on May 10, having been charged under “the liquor act”, Asher-Pedro said.
When approached for comment, Woodstock police station spokesman Hilton Malila said he was not aware of the incident, but would investigate.
An officer at the Woodstock police station confirmed the arrests today, and told the Cape Argus the three had been charged with assaulting a police officer.
Malila would not confirm details of the arrests, referring all further queries to the provincial communications office.
Asher-Pedro claimed that the trio had not been allowed to make phone calls and that the police refused to allow anyone bring them jackets.
“I could not even tell my 14-year-old son, who was at home, where I was (over) the weekend,” she said.
Asher-Pedro said that six police officers entered the Dreams Sports Bar just before midnight on Saturday and told Muoka that there was too much noise coming from the premises.
Muoka questioned them, she said, and the police allegedly responded by swearing at him and telling him to shut up.
Asher-Pedro said Muoka had persisted, and the officers allegedly threatened to arrest him. She said they handcuffed him and one officer allegedly hit Muoka in the face.
At that point, she intervened, asking the officer why he was hitting a handcuffed man.
“That is when they started attacking me, throwing my phone on the floor and dragging me, while ripping my skirt.
“They pepper sprayed me in the eyes.”
She claimed that other patrons were also pepper sprayed and were chased out of the club. Some, who were recording the incident on their cellphones, had the phones confiscated, she said.
Muoka confirmed the incident, saying he had talked to his lawyers and preferred not to comment at this stage.
The three were due to meet with lawyers today to provide statements, which would be filed to the Independent Complaints Directorate so it could investigate, Asher-Pedro said this morning.
Muoka showed the Cape Argus several City of Cape Town documents showing he was licensed to do business on the premises.