News24 journalist demands investigation into his arrest during student protest
17 October 2016
Durban – News24 reporter Kaveel Singh has written a detailed affidavit to police compelling them to investigate his arrest and detainment while covering a Fees Must Fall protest in Durban.
"I would like the police to investigate this matter further, and wish to open a case against the officials involved in detaining me, destroying the digital files on my phone and assaulting me," he said of the incident that took place on September 30.
Singh was detained by private security and police after his cellphone was confiscated and a video he took with it was deleted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Westville campus.
He said that while covering a protest a metro police officer approached him and told him he was not allowed to record the protest.
"I again told him I'm from the media and I am allowed to film. We had a verbal argument about that. A group of police officers, maybe 5 or 6 then descended on me, grabbed and pulled my arms."
A metro police officer grabbed his right arm in an attempt to take his phone, he said.
"I did not let go of the phone. Eventually he pulled it with so much force that I could not hold on any more and I was forced to let go."
According to Singh, police deleted videos, including one that showed the officer who had tried to stop him from recording earlier.
He said he gave police his business cards along with his driver's licence to verify his identity.
"Despite my efforts, they just didn't want to hear anything about it. They paid no regard to this. They told me to get into the back of the MI7 vehicle, which I complied with. I waited there in the van for quite a while. While I waited they rounded up some more students. Another student was also loaded into the vehicle."
Singh said while detained in the police vehicle he called his editor who spoke to the police but that did not help. He was then taken to Westville police station.
"I asked the metro officer who arrested me for his identification. He just said 'Mr D Naidoo'. He didn't want to give me his rank or further details. They also did not tell me, when I asked, what I am being charged with."
Singh learnt later that he was being charged with trespassing on university premises.
"After that I was joined by another five students. I communicated with my colleagues, told them what happened. I was informed that steps were taken to clear up the issue."
He was eventually released later in the afternoon.
"I did not give anybody the right to take, search, edit or tamper in any way with my cell phone or its contents. I did not give anybody the right to erase the electronic video files, or destroy my property."
This article first appeared on News24, see here.