Reaction Unit South Africa in hot water over arrest video

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Durban – When a crime is committed in Verulam, it is a well- known fact that residents do not call the police. They call the Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa).

However, questions are now being asked about whether Rusa acted above the law when dealing with the man suspected of having sexually abused his stepdaughter.

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In a video doing the rounds on social media, a man who is believed to be the stepfather, and whose face is clearly visible, is seen being assaulted verbally and physically by men dressed in black uniforms.

The video shows the man being kicked on the head, electrocuted, stomped on and hit with what appears to be a broom. The handcuffed man barely moves or says anything.

Rusa has promised to investigate the alleged assault

Rusa spokesperson Prem Balram said he had viewed the video and would consult forensic experts to verify its authenticity.

Balram said they had arrested the suspect and had handed him over to the police.

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In pictures posted on Rusa’s Whatsapp group the suspect appears injured.

Balram said: “Rusa does not condone violence and will fully co-operate with any investigation into this matter. I have not been contacted by the police at this stage.

“None of our members are visible on the video but if any one of our members are identified, management will take the necessary disciplinary measures against them.

Adeshini Naicker, Operations Manager at Childline KwaZulu-Natal, said they were caring for the child but were concerned that people would be able to figure out who she was, because of the video.

“As much as they try to shame the perpetrator, they are, in fact, invading the privacy of the child,” she said.

According to law, pictures of the victim and alleged offender as well as their names cannot be revealed, to protect the victim’s identity.

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The child, whose mother is believed to have died about five years ago, will be housed at a state-run care facility until a suitable foster family can be found for her.

Professor Ann Skelton, from the Centre for Child Law, said the law required that child victims be protected. “No person may publish information that may reveal the identity of the child. This includes social media.”

Criminologist Dr Jean Steyn said the video could have far- reaching implications for the case and the credibility of the witnesses. It could also affect the validity of evidence presented in the case, and people seen in the video could be charged for assault. It could also lead to the trial lasting longer than it needed to.

Steyn said this showed how elements of society needed to vent their frustration and had lost trust in the justice system. “Someone is innocent until proven guilty,” Steyn said.

He said sometimes people jumped the gun, especially when it came to child abuse. Daily News

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