South African Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen says he was prevented by armed police from visiting Heidelberg police station even though the cluster commander and relief station manager were aware of his intention to visit. Nissen planned on visiting the police station following alleged reports of police brutality and suicide of a detainee at the station last week.
The 42-year old Henry Oktober was allegedly assaulted by police and later died in hospital. Shortly after Oktober’s death, Jan Esau committed suicide at the Heidelberg police cells. Both incidents are being investigated by the police watchdog Ipid. Nissen adds that he did not lodge a complaint at the station regarding the incident but will be raising the issue with the appropriate levels.
IPID spokesperson Ndileka Cola says after the incidents at Heidelberg SAPS, the directorate would conduct an outreach engagement in the community today, “the environmental scanning depicts that there are numerous policing challenges and unhappiness in that community about police conduct…”