Johannesburg – The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) says its investigators could not conduct interviews on the Nathaniel Julius shooting on Thursday because the situation in Eldorado Park was too volatile. Investigators met the family on Thursday but have not yet taken statements from the police involved.
On Thursday, 16-year-old Nathaniel Julius was shot dead, allegedly by police.
Nathaniel’s death sparked outrage on social media and in Eldorado Park, with members of the community calling for justice in the death of the 16-year-old who lived with Down syndrome.
It is alleged that Nathaniel had left to try to find food for his family and while he was outside, he saw a police van with emergency lights on.
According to reports, the teenager became excited and police shot at him.
Police rushed him to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital where he later died. Police are also accused of trying to cover up the boy’s death.
Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said the police would be guided by recommendations from Ipid about whether the police officers involved should remain in service during the investigation.
“We will be guided by Ipid recommendations as per standard procedure,” said Peters.
Ipid spokesperson Ndileka Cola confirmed the police watchdog were investigating Nathaniel’s death “as a result of police action”. But, she said IPID had struggled to conduct their work on Thursday because of the volatile situation in the community.
“The Ipid investigators struggled to access the scene as the situation had been volatile. When they ultimately managed to access it, it was almost impossible to conduct interviews as the community was violent.
“However Ipid officials managed to visit the family of the deceased, under escort, and the family liaison has been done,” she said.
Cola said the police watchdog had yet to retrieve statements from the police officers accused of Nathaniel’s death.
“Further investigation, which includes acquiring further information from the police, eye witnesses, ballistics and postmortem, is yet to be conducted.”
Meanwhile, Peters said the SAPS could not comment about events that led to the shooting as the matter was now subject to an independent Ipid investigation.
She said police arrested four members of the public on Thursday for public violence.
“Public order police have been deployed to Eldorado Park this morning following violent attacks by residents who are allegedly accusing police of having shot and killed a 16-year-old boy on Wednesday evening ,August 26, 2020.
“At this stage, damage has been caused to the Eldorado Park police station building while two SAPS officers and one JMPD officer have been injured.
Police are calling for calm and restraint as this matter has now been reported to Ipid for investigation,” she said.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele is meeting the family of Nathaniel Julius at their home this afternoon.