They bound his hands to the rear of a van, and then sped off, dragging the slender taxi driver along the pavement as a crowd of onlookers shouted in dismay. The man was later found dead.
A gut-wrenching video of the scene is all the more disturbing because the men who abused the Mozambican immigrant were uniformed South African police officers and the van was a marked police vehicle.
The graphic scenes of the victim struggling for his life shocked a nation long accustomed to reports of police violence.
The Daily Sun, a South African newspaper, posted video the footage Thursday and it was quickly picked up by other South African news outlets and carried on the Internet. It sparked immediate outrage.
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“They are there for safety, but we as a people fear them more,” said Johannesburg resident Alfonso Adams. “You don’t know who to trust anymore.”