South Africa’s police service faced fresh shame this morning after shocking video footage emerged of police officers dragging an arrested man - who later died in police custody - behind their van.
The vivid mobile phone footage clearly shows uniformed South African police officers tying the arrested man to the back of a marked police vehicle.
Apparently unconcerned about the large crowd of jeering onlookers - many of whom can be seen recording the incident on their mobile phones - the police van's driver then speeds off down the road.
The victim - a 27-year-old Mozambican immigrant later named as Mido Macia - was found dead in a police cell less just over two hours later.
The taxi driver's distraught family said all he had done was argue with the police over an alleged parking violation.
The incident comes after South African police officers shot and killed 34 striking workers at the Marikana mine in August last year.
It also occurs as the country's criminal justice system is under intense international scrutiny thanks to the high profile Oscar Pistorius murder trial.
Mr Macia was arrested at a marketplace in the Daveyton township outside Johannesburg at 6.50pm on Tuesday.
According to witnesses he had been beeping his taxi's horn to attract passengers when police arrived.
"They argued with Macia and then they beat him up", an anonymous witness told South Africa's Daily Sun newspaper, which first revealed the scandal.
"They handcuffed him to the back of the van and slammed the door in his face. With blood running down his face they drove off.
"He was in pain, he cried and asked the cops to stop but they continued anyway."
South Africa's Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), which has launched an investigation, confirmed that Mr Macia was found dead in his police cell at 9.15pm.
Moses Dlamini, a spokesman for the unit, said a post mortem revealed the probable cause of death was head injuries with internal bleeding.
In a statement, Mr Dlamini said that investigators had been told that Mr Macia was originally approached by police because his minibus taxi was blocking the road.
Two policemen - a constable and a warrant officer - allegedly tried to get him to move on, Mr Dlamini said, but "the taxi driver then assaulted the Constable and took his police firearm.
"The warrant officer overpowered the taxi driver and handed the firearm back to his colleague", the spokesman's statement read.
"When back-up arrived the Constable was still at the scene, struggling to put the suspect in the police van."
Mr Dlamini said officers allegedly managed to put the "resisting suspect" into the police van and took him to the police cells, where he later died.
This morning The Daily Sun quoted an anonymous prisoner who was in the police station saying: "They killed him. They beat him up so badly in here."
The fresh scandal has already prompted a furious backlash in South Africa.
This morning, Frans Cronje from the respected South African Institute for Race Relations think tank said: "This dragging the Mozambican behind the police van is a level of barbarity on a par with police behaviour at Marikana.
"We strongly support the police use of force to meet the criminal onslaught in South Africa But this is not that.
"This is an ill disciplined and brutal rabble that have lost all respect for themselves, their jobs, the societies they work in."
Video below from South African Daily Sun. Warning: Graphic content
South African taxi driver dies after being arrested and dragged behind police van in row over parking - World - News - London Evening Standard