The Chairperson of the Eldorado Park Community Policing Forum, Dominic Rodriguez, says they are appealing to the community to hold a candlelight vigil to honour teenager Nathaniel Julies’ life.
This as community members are expected to take to the streets again on Friday over the killing of the teenager.
Sixteen-year-old Julies who has Down syndrome was shot dead under mysterious circumstances not far from his home on Wednesday evening.
The incident sparked unrest, resulting in continuous running battles between the police and community members after they attacked the local police station. Three police officers have been wounded and four residents arrested.
“This morning (Friday), we are going to try and see if we can calm down the situation. Yesterday, with the city council members and the local councillors we tried to engage with them and speak to them and let them know we are dealing with it. You know, we engage with the senior management of the police station on a daily basis and for me to say that they aren’t willing to help is a lie they have tried to resolve issues. We’ve called for people to come through with candles as opposed to rocks and shamboks – so we hope everything pans out better than it did yesterday (Thursday).”
The boy’s family says they had just finished eating supper on Wednesday evening when he went outside the house to play with his friends, as he normally did.
His step-father Clint Smit says Nathaniel was standing behind a stationary truck, hiding from his friends when a police vehicle arrived. Smit says according to witnesses, one police officer shot Nathaniel once in the chest, when he couldn’t explain what he was doing there, because of his condition.
“The policeman, I don’t know they call him Scorpion, he was getting out of the car, to go to my son and shoot him. When I came to the gate, the police van was already speeding up to that point by the stop sign. He was already in the van; they picked him up and threw him in the van, in the back of the van. When he shot my son, he was calling my friends, they came, two of them picked him up, threw him in the van and they sped off. I found my people in Bara. The people there by Bara say the police came and said he was in a gang fight.”
In the video below, members of the community speak out:
The boy’s mother Bridget Harris is devastated. She says she’ll miss him dearly. She couldn’t hold back her tears as she spoke fondly of him.
“No one will ever fill the void I have now, because he’s a special child. He’s just himself, you know. What I’m going to miss is the smile, the greetings, who’s going to make jokes, who’s going to dance for us again, who’s going to make sure that he greets you two times a day. I’m going to miss him the most in the morning. When he stands up and says mommy and says mommy I want my shoes I want to go. I never knew that yesterday it would be the last.”
The parents are demanding justice. Harris says they must bury her son. “It’s because of them, he’s no longer.”
Police watchdog IPID has confirmed that it’s investigating the incident.
Ward Councillor Peter Rafferty says they’ve been briefed that the officer who allegedly killed the boy has been arrested.
“From what we have received from SAPS, the perpetrator has been arrested. But we’re not leaving it there. If there were other officers that were with him there, they were also part and parcel of this particular crime trying to cover-up what has happened there. So we also need those people also to be arrested. But we will monitor this and give the community feedback, but now we’re calling for calm. That’s why we’ve got all of the people to put down their stones, as you have seen now it’s relatively a little bit calm.”
Police say they are not aware of any arrest at this stage.
Premier David Makhura’s spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga has appealed for calm.
“Premier David Makhura has strongly condemned the killing of Nathaniel, the 16-year-old from Eldorado Park. The Premier has called for calm from the community and has requested the community to provide space to IPID to investigate the matter. More police officers have been deployed to the area. IPID says their investigation will involve getting more information from police, eyewitnesses and ballistics.”