Man dragged by South Africa police dies in custody

Feb. 28, 2013 Reuters

JOHANNESBURG  - South African police were caught on video dragging a man hundreds of meters from the back of a pick-up truck, hours before he died in custody, drawing a storm of protest against a force accused of routine brutality.

The 27-year-old Mozambican taxi driver, Mido Macia, was found dead in detention with signs of head injuries and internal bleeding, according to an initial post mortem report released by the country's police watchdog.

The incident, videotaped on Tuesday and broadcast nationwide on Thursday, was condemned by President Jacob Zuma and opposition politicians.

"The visuals of the incident are horrific, disturbing and unacceptable. No human being should be treated in that manner", said Zuma in a statement that described the incident as "the tragic death of a man in the hands of the police".

Police told media they detained Macia after he parked illegally, creating a traffic jam, and then resisted arrest.

The video clearly shows the man scuffling with police, who subdue him. He is then bound to the back of the pick-up by his arms before the vehicle drives off in front of scores of witnesses in the east Johannesburg area of Daveyton.

Police commissioner Riah Phiyega said she was looking into the "alleged brutal treatment" by officers "in a very serious light and it is strongly condemned".

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