Seven S. African policemen acquitted of deadly attack
A South African court on Thursday acquitted seven police officers accused of killing an unarmed protester whose death sparked outrage after his brutal beating was captured on video.
The Ficksburg Regional Court found the state could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers had murdered Andries Tatane.
“All seven of them were facing charges of murder and assault,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Phaladi Shuping told AFP, saying the state was “disappointed” with the verdict.
The 33-year-old Tatane was beaten and shot with rubber bullets during a 2011 protest against government services in Ficksburg in the central Free State province.
The captured footage showed Tatane being beaten during a march to municipal offices during several days of protests in which roads were blocked and tyres set alight.
The case initiated a furore over the use of force by the police, which exploded last year when 34 people were shot dead during a mining strike.
Police officers were recently arrested for dragging a Mozambican man behind a police van to a station where he died in custody.
After the case sparked fresh outrage, another incident of dragging from a vehicle was also reported.