Pubdate: Fri, 28 May 2004
Source: Pretoria News, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2004 The Pretoria News
Author:  Clyde Bawden


Some people were outraged by a front-page picture this week of youngsters 
forced to the floor during a police raid on city clubs at the weekend. Some 
felt differently, that if strong-arm tactics are required to combat the 
scourge of drugs and under-age children in these popular clubs, then the 
end justifies the means.

While we wholeheartedly support action against those who push drugs and 
encourage impressionable youngsters to experiment with substances that ruin 
lives and destroy families, we draw a line against the use of unnecessary 
force by the authorities. Once again we question the use of such strong-arm 
methods in what is no more than a routine operation involving mainly 
innocents in the pursuit of pleasure.

That it is still happening is a cause for concern, despite the relative 
success of the operation in confiscating cocaine, ecstasy tablets and a 
dagga cigarette.

Particularly upset is a city family after what one member described as "an 
attack ... more like an armed robbery than a raid" during 21st birthday 
celebrations at a city nightclub where they claim they and friends had guns 
shoved in their faces before being kicked and punched to the ground. So 
badly were they treated that they have decided to take legal action against 
the police to ensure that they pay for what they call "horrendous and 
disgusting behaviour".

There is much public sympathy for members of the police service over their 
paltry pay and difficult working conditions. Sadly, this type of behaviour 
does their cause more harm than good.
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