A 23-year-old woman is considering taking legal action against the police after being arrested while sitting on a bench in Cape Town and then being locked in a cell for the night.
Esethu Mcinjana was in Sea Point on Sunday for a job interview at a hotel at 10:45am. She arrived early for the interview and decided to go sit on a bench near the beach.
“I pressed the buzzer when I arrived but no one responded, so I went to sit on a bench overlooking the beach.”
She said she was taking pictures at around 9:20am when she was approached by a police officer who asked her what she was doing there. She noted that the officer's tone was aggressive.
“I explained to her that I was there for an interview but was early. She didn’t believe me and said there are no interviews on a Sunday.”
The officer then allegedly grabbed her bag and threw all her things on the ground.
She took a video which shows the police officers searching her bag, a Sergeant Smith and Constable Prince.
She says that Smith found her house keys with a gate remote and commented that she had found what she needed in Afrikaans.
Mcinjana said she was accused of being a robber and using the remote to unlock people's cars.
“I tried to explain that the remote wasn’t even working but I was using it as a key holder.”-
The police officer confiscated Mcinjana's phone before making her get into the van. She said she was taken to Sea Point police station and then put into a cell.
“I tried to show the police officer the e-mail that shows I was there for an interview but she didn’t listen to me."
She says she was only given her phone at 4pm so that she could tell her mother where she was.
Mcinjana said that some of the officers at the station told her that the way she was being treated was wrong.
Speaking to GroundUp, Mcinjana's mother said that when she was finally allowed to speak to her daughter, she was only given three minutes with her.
“My daughter left home for a job interview but ended up in jail. For what? She has never done anything wrong. She was looking forward to that interview.”
Mcinjana says she is consulting lawyers and also intends to approach the Human Rights Commission.
“I feel violated and angry. Someone I expected would protect me, a police officer, treated me in that way and ignored my rights. I spent a night in a holding cell. For what?”
She was released at 3pm on Monday and was too embarrassed to contact the hotel people who had been expecting her for the interview.
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