, South Africa, Mar 12 – A South African court is expected to rule Tuesday on bail for nine policemen charged with murdering a Mozambican dragged behind their van.
Defence lawyers will wrap up arguments in a third day of hearings after the death of Mido Macia, 27, exactly two weeks ago.
Police had to protect the lawyers when a small crowd of protesters attacked them leaving the court Monday, amid outrage at apparent police brutality.
Bystanders on February 26 filmed Macia being manhandled, handcuffed to the back of a police van and dragged hundreds of metres through the streets of Daveyton, a town east of Johannesburg.
Just over two hours later he was found dead in his cell, with extensive injuries, including cuts and bleeding on the brain, in a case that shocked South Africa and the world.
Prosecutors in the Benoni Magistrate court say the taxi driver was brought to a police station crying, bleeding and without trousers.
Investigators also found blood spots on his cell’s walls and floor, suggesting he was abused at the police station.
But the nine cops say Macia, a minibus taxi driver, had assaulted a policeman while resisting arrest after being confronted for parking his taxi on the wrong side of the road.
The driver of the police van claimed he drove away to escape the angry crowd that had gathered, and did not know Macia was being dragged behind.
None of the accused explained how the Mozambican ended up cuffed to the van or dead in his cell.
Their lawyers Monday claimed the driver had killed five children in a car accident days before he died, apparently suggesting his injuries from that incident may have led to his death.