Boksburg metro-cop arrests journo Michael Ferguson

Benoni City Times journalist Michael Ferguson was investigating complaints of police-brutality when he was arrested…

– the ridiculous charge against the journalist was dropped after local community-leaders intervened.

28 October 2011 – Benoni – An investigation into the conduct of an unidentified Daveyton EMPD police officer is being conducted by their own internal ‘Integrity and Standards Unit’ after City Times journalist Michael Ferguson was illegally arrested while investigating charges of police-brutality against a local resident. After local community leaders intervened, Ferguson was released and the formal charges of (sic:) Ferguson of ‘interference to and officer performing his duty and taking him a photo’,  were dropped.

                        Is this a legal charge? “Interference to and officer performing his duty and taking him a photo’ (sic)


Picture: the charge against the journalist was dropped after local community leaders intervened: he was being charged with, Quote: “interference to and officer performing his duty and taking him a photo…’


City Times journalist Sandile van Heerden writes that ‘the officer in question could face charges of intimidation and unlawful arrest, among others.” The arrest occurred after the City Times received a call to report police brutality at the intersection of Bunyan Street and Lake Avenue in the Benoni CBD late on Thursday morning.

Hostile cop freaked out when Ferguson took photographs:

“When City Times journalist Michael Ferguson arrived at the scene he approached the officer in question, but was ignored until he began taking photographs. The officer was hostile and treated me as if I did not exist,” he said. “When I started taking photographs he completely freaked out. He was shouting and screaming and he and his partner grabbed me, ripped my camera out of my hands, handcuffed me and threw me in the back of their van.”

Ferguson was apprehended by the officer in question and his ‘partner’, who was however not a member of the metropolitan-police force, but instead apparently is a member of the regular Daveyton SAPD instead.

Ferguson’s camera was confiscated, he was handcuffed and was placed in the back of a small van — where he then was held for three and a half hours.
A member of the community alerted the newspaper again- this time to warn them that their journalist had been arrested.

Ferguson was trying to cover a ‘struggle between a staff member at a business and a police officer over a parking row’

It is reported that the officer and his partner had an argument with the owner of a nearby business regarding one of their trucks parked in the road. It was also reported that a struggle between a staff member of the business and the officer ensued, resulting in the staff member’s shirt being ripped open.

Metro-police chief Superintendent Jacques Vorster “was not his boss’ said the black metro-cop

The City Times, members of the community policing forum, SAPS and ward councillor Mary Goby all attended the scene to see what was happening. The officer in question, dressed in an EMPD T-shirt, refused to identify himself to the City Times and other community members.  He also refused to take a call from the EMPD’s head in Benoni, Supt Jacques Voster, saying; “He is not my boss.”

Sandile van Heerden noted  that the only comment the officer had on Ferguson’s arrest, was that the journalist ‘was being detained for “interfering”, but that the policeman would not elaborate. Van Heerden: “Ferguson was then taken to the Benoni Police Station by the officer, to have charges laid against him. CEO of the Benoni citizen-policing-forum Reza Patel then arrived on the scene and in turn contacted metropolitian police chief-superintendent Hennie Erasmus of the Integrity and Standards Unit, to request his assistance in the matter. Erasmus arrived and took contact details from those on the scene, including the officer, and promised to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.

The metro-cop’s partner later vanished and according to Van Heerden, ‘is said to be a member of the Daveyton SAPS. Erasmus reportedly said that ‘the accomplice will not be investigated by the EMPD, but will, instead, be reported to the SAPS.”

The charges against Ferguson: “Interference to, and [sic] officer performing his duty and taking him a photo,” were later dropped.


About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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