Police brutalise journalists covering Eldorado protests

...as residence demand answers in Nathaniel Julius' fatal shooting

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Diana Chiyangwa
Journalists were on Thursday brutalised by police officers who descended on protesters in Eldorado Park, in Johannesburg.

Violence erupted in Eldorado, south of Johannesburg, as residence demanded answers on the killing of Nathaniel Julius, a 16-year-old by the police on Wednesday evening.

Nathaniel, who was living with Down’s syndrome, was shot by South African Police Services (Saps) officers while he was standing next to a parked truck in his neighborhood.

The police allege that they opened fire at robbers who had just committed a crime in the area while others said the deceased was shot by gangs that were involved in a shootout.

But angry residents on Thursday morning took to the streets of Eldorado Park to demanded justice for Nathaniel’s killing. They burnt tryes and blocked roads with stones.

Tensions ran high as angry residents clashed with the police. Rubber bullets were fired at angry protesters who were pelting the police with stones and bottles.

Several residence and journalists were left nursing injuries after the police indiscriminately beating people.

Tunicia Jegels, a reporter from Kaya FM was shot by a rubber bullet while covering the protests. Photojournalist Timothy Bernard was also injured and taken to hospital.

eNCA reporter Aviwe Mtila said he heard police officers saying: “The media needs to be shot”.

“They were aggressive and reckless,” said Mtila.

Gauteng provincial spokesperson Brigadier Mathaphelo Peters confirmed the violence and said: “We will stay close to the situation and try to prevent more the injuries”.

Ndileka Cola Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spokesperson expressed her disappointment in the manner the police handled the situation.

“That’s disappointing to be honest,” she responded
Events leading to Nathaniel’s death brewed more anger and frustration in the community of Eldos, one resident explained to Newsworth team.

“He was dragged by the neck and was thrown into the back of the police van, I hope that justice will be served and our cries will not fall on deaf ears,” she said.

Nathaniel’s family confirmed that he later succumbed to the bullet wounds at Chris Hani Baragwaneth Hospital.

“We are devastated… we are struggling to come to terms with what happened to our son,” his grandfather said.

Nathaniel’s distraught sister said: “He was defenceless, he couldn’t speak for himself because of his disability”.

Residents are calling for the removal of Eldorado Police Station commander and his team.

They are also accusing the officers of corruption and accepting bribes from drug lords in the area.

“We are yet to ascertain on what transpired as the matter has just being handed over to IPID for investigation,” Cola said.
“Our mandate is to ensure that we protect the people and make sure the police are not above the law.”
Amid the tensions, an elderly woman was shot thrice while a mother was shot eight times while on her way from fetching her child from school.

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