Muldersdrift shooting: ‘I would have shot him in the head too,’ says ex Durban cop turned PI

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Former police officer-turned-private-investigator Brad Nathanson says he would have reacted the same way police in Muldersdrift did if he were in their shoes.

However, he said police could have handled the situation in a different way but using other means of force including pepper spray to subdue Len Cloete.

Brad Nathanson wrote “

POLICE UNDER “FIRE”

So, the topic of the last two days has been the shooting by police (who have come under fire) of a man who behaved poorly at a guest house, Misty Hills Lodge in Muldersdrift on 13 November 2021.

For those of you who have seen the video clip that is doing the rounds (not recommended for sensitive viewers and especially not for children), you will see a man being shot in the head by police after he disarmed a uniformed police-woman of her service pistol.

Before I go on, I wish to say that this story is tragic and that from the get-go our thoughts and prayers go out to Len Cloete as he lies in a coma in hospital and to his friends and family who anxiously await a favourable recovery. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to the attending members of the SAPS, security personnel and staff of the guest house.

I am an ex-policeman and I can tell you this and that is that if I were on the scene that day, the moment that the suspect shouted “Waar is my gun?” and went to fetch it from where it was kept in the room that he was staying, I would have drawn my weapon and been prepared for the suspect no matter what he went to fetch. The moment I saw a gun in his hand I would have warned him verbally and if he raised that firearm, I would have shot him, likely in the head, so as to immobilize him and so as to protect myself from being shot along with my colleagues.

From the video it is obvious that the suspect was enraged and likely on one or another substance. The suspect faced six (6) uniformed members of the SAPS and at least two security guards but showed NO respect for authority or for the SAPS. To the contrary, out of video it is alleged that he punched two of the members of the SAPS in the face, prior to the altercation that lead to him being shot.

It has been suggested that the police should have fired a warning shot. Where??? The police and suspect were in one room of the guest house. The ricochet from a warning shot may have been fatal to one of the SAPS members whether fired into the floor or into the ceiling. It has also been suggested that police should have shot the suspect in the foot. How was this then going to stop him from pulling the trigger of the pistol that he had forcibly and unlawfully removed from a SAPS member?

The video clip is not a true reflection of events because we cannot see what happened before the incident that was recorded on a mobile phone. For me, the police shot the suspect too late and by missing their first opportunity, allowed the second controversial shooting to occur. Whether you agree with the shooting or not, the questions beg “Why did the suspect think that he could get away with disarming a uniformed member of the SAPS who was only there to do her job and what did he intend to do with the weapon?”

Nothing good can come out of abusing the police physically and verbally and then going on to disarm one of them as is now obvious. If anything, the thing that was made quite clear throughout this incident is that the police-force is undertrained especially for an incident such as this. Those attending members looked like deer in headlights.

I don’t think that the policeman who fired the shot feels particularly proud of himself, and I am sure that the police-woman who was disarmed is not feeling too clever but this entire incident could have been averted if handled in a different way. What happened to spraying a suspect with tear gas and then man-handling him into handcuffs if he was behaving as aggressively as Cloete? Surely this would have been a better option, but then it all comes back to training and being properly equipped.

The suspect is a big unit, already intimidating by his mere physical presence. Now imagine this unit with a gun in his hand; a gun he had just ripped from the possession of a member of the SAPS. Imagine that this big unit was unreasonable, disrespectful of the law and threatening in his demeanor. What would you have done?