South African police officers who killed a suspected robber by shooting him in the head as he lay on the ground handed themselves in on Monday after a surveillance video of the act was broadcast, the police said.
The footage released over the weekend by The Sunday Times newspaper shows a uniformed member of the South African Police Service (SAPS) shoot the unidentified man in the head at point blank range after he had been shot in the shoulder and chest.
The suspect was already lying on the pavement after the bullet to his shoulder felled him as he fled from the police, the video showed. Blood from the man’s head forms a pool on the pavement shortly after the shots to the chest and head.
“They have handed themselves in and we arrested them. Three males and a female. They are facing charges of murder, but we might add other charges,” Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spokeswoman Grace Langa said.
South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy, remains beset by high levels of violent crime blamed on high unemployment and the lingering effects of apartheid.
There has been a series of police using inordinate force against civilians in recent years, the worst being the 2012 “Marikana massacre” where 34 striking mine workers were gunned down by police.
Langa said the officers would remained in custody overnight despite the officers’ pleas for the process be expedited, and appear before a magistrates court on Tuesday.
“They were stressed. They were requesting the investigators to (allow them) appear in court today. But there is no special treatment,” Langa said.