A Johannesburg motorist is waiting for his driver’s licence to be returned after it was “confiscated” by a traffic officer in a recorded altercation that went viral.
“So this is our professional Ekuruleni Metro Police. But they messed with the wrong guy today‚” wrote Diederick Stopforth in a Facebook post that has generated a heated debate.
Stopforth uploaded a video of himself approaching the officer‚ who is not wearing a badge‚ along with a running commentary about how the officer took away his licence and refused to give it back. The officer lashes out‚ slapping the phone to the ground.
Ekuruleni metro police spokesman Wilfred Kgasago said the incident had been handed over to their integrity and standards unit for investigation.
“The complainant will be interviewed and a statement obtained from him as well as from the officer involved. Statements will be required from independent witnesses if any.”
Stopforth told TMG Digital that the officer had initially stopped him and asked why he was overtaking a stationary truck.
“I told him I have to overtake the truck because I cannot drive through it and I can’t just stand there otherwise I will block the intersection.”
He said the traffic officer’s body language was not friendly.
“You could tell that these guys just stand there and wait for people that they can make money from. He walked around my car and didn’t give me a fine. I told him that he should conduct himself in a professional manner because he was shouting and screaming at us.
“My girlfriend was busy recording him and when he noticed that she was recording‚ his attitude towards us changed.”
He claimed the officer became aggressive‚ grabbed his driver’s licence and walked away. “I followed him and asked whether he was going to fine me and whether I could get my licence back it was then that he smacked the phone out of my hand. He also did the same to my girlfriend when she recorded him.”
While some were vocal in their support for the motorist‚ others questioned whether it was not his own attitude which had provoked the incident.
Isaiah Maluleke commented on the Facebook post: “The thing is you don’t know what the guy did b4 he took the video I bet he pushed the officer to that extent….it serves him right”.
Mvuleni Humphrey said: “The officer did a great job‚ he was suppose to moer you even more (sic)”.
Stopforth has opened two cases of assualt at the Edenvale police station‚ two cases of damage to property and a case of theft related to his licence being taken.
Stopforth said on Thursday that he had been contacted by the metro police and was told that the officer was still in possession of his licence and would return it.