Police Minister Bheki Cele was yesterday called a “grandfather” who “must retire because you are old and cannot do this job anymore” by angry Eldorado Park residents. Cele went to offer his condolences to the family of 16-year-old Nathaniel Julies – allegedly shot by a police officer on Wednesday – but was met by angry chants and posters outside the Eldorado Park police station.
“Skiet en Donder Bheki, all you tell us is lies. We cannot trust you anymore,” read one poster.
Elsewhere, there were chants of: “We want justice! We want justice!”
Adopting the motto of the Black Lives Matter movement, some of the residents shouted: “We can’t breathe.”
Even as Cele tried to assure the community that a full investigation would be carried out and the police officer who allegedly pulled the trigger would “face the full might of the law”, protesters told him they don’t trust the police because of the “deep corruption” at the police station.
Underlining this was a placard which read: “We are scared of the police.”
Resident Florence Steenkamp told Saturday Citizen the community demanded justice for what happened to the teenager.
“We want our coloured rights back. They say Nathaniel, who we know as Lokkie, was killed in a crossfire between cops and a gang which is not true because Lokkie was not part of a gang,” she said.
“He was an innocent teenager who suffered from Down syndrome. How he can be part of a gang or threaten the police?”
Steenkamp claimed the Eldorado Park police station was becoming a morgue because when someone from Eldos was arrested, they were beaten to death.
Nathaniel’s grandfather, Frank Julies, said what happened to his grandson cannot be covered up because justice needed to be served at some point.
He said many questions were put to Cele, including how they were keeping such an officer as the community believed Lokkie was not the first child the man had shot. “The manner in which the policeman shot the boy was unacceptable, because the policeman’s life was not in danger,” said Julies.
“All Lokkie was attracted to was the police lights, he did not want to harm anyone. He is a happy child and brought so much joy to our family.”
Cele appealed to the residents to allow the police watchdog Independent Police Investigative Directorate to investigate the matter. “We are inviting all the people who have information to come forward.”
– The Citizen