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AP News

SAfrican police go to court in man dragged case

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South African police officer charged with murdering a taxi driver who was dragged from a police vehicle testified Friday that the man insulted him and grabbed a fellow officer's gun.

The killing of Mido Macia, a Mozambican who died in police custody on Feb. 26, shocked South Africans and viewers around the world after graphic video footage of him being tied to a vehicle by uniformed officers and dragged down a street was broadcast and posted online.

Protesters gathered outside the Benoni Magistrate's Court, east of Johannesburg, to demand that the officers not be granted bail. Eight officers were initially arrested, and South Africa media reported Friday that a ninth was also detained.

During the bail hearing, the lawyer for officer Thamsanqa Ncema, 35, read his client's affidavit in court, the South African Press Association reported. Ncema testified that Macia, 27, was blocking the road with his car.

"I asked him to move and he insulted me and told me I am a 'useless cop,'" Ncema said in the affidavit.

He said Macia grabbed an officer's gun and pointed it at them before handing it back. Then an altercation started and Macia was arrested when police backup arrived, and taken to the police station in Daveyton, a township east of Johannesburg.

"I was caught by surprise to be told that the person had died, as he has never complained about any injuries," Ncema said in his affidavit, according to SAPA.

South Africa's police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, says Macia suffered head injuries and internal bleeding.

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