All he did was sell cigarettes at a corner in Atteridgeville, but Snoek Netshefhefhe did not think his small business would leave him in hospital after an alleged beating from a police officer.
The 39-year-old man told The Citizen he was arrested last Monday for allegedly selling fake cigarettes, spending three nights in a cell.
“The police officer took me and I was locked up with other people last Monday. Everyone else was charged except me. It was only on Tuesday that I was charged with the selling of counterfeit cigarettes, but I didn’t understand how,” Netshefhefhe said.
When he finally reached the Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for a bail hearing, Netshefhefhe said a police officer allegedly told him his freedom would only cost R500.
“I explained that I had no money but he said I should make a plan. When I was alone and about to walk into the courtroom, the officer told me I could go home as my little brother managed to pay him R500,” said Netshefhefhe.
In an attempt to understand the charge against him, Netshefhefhe said he returned to the police station to request a list of cigarettes that could be legally sold.
“I told the police about my arrest and that I paid to be released. They asked if I received a slip for the payment, asking if I paid bail or a fine. I told them I was not given any slip. That is when they told me and my brother to return to that officer to get a slip.
“We found the officer and asked him for the slip. We said if he couldn’t provide one, he should return our money. The officer told me he gave the money to someone else. Then he suddenly pulled me by my pants and threw me to the floor.”
Netshefhefhe claimed the officer locked him in a cell and hit him with a baton.
“He locked me in a cell and continuously kicked and punched me. He also beat me with a baton and pepper-sprayed me. The assault continued for about an hour.”
An angry Netshefhefhe returned to the Atteridgeville Police Station on Thursday to open a case of assault.
Atteridgeville police spokesperson Captain Thomas Mufamadi said the details of the incident were under investigation.