Shocking footage from South Africa reveals that police tampered with the scene of a fatal shooting after one officer inadvertently shot another.
Gauteng police had been involved in a shootout with criminals in a petrol station on 12 January, in which Constable Tshepo Tladi was shot and killed.
On Monday (16 January), Captain Kay Makhubela said the police officer was shot after being "ambushed by heavily armed criminals" and that a case of murder, attempted murder and business robbery was being investigated.
However, CCTV footage acquired by South Africa's Times Live appears to bring that narrative into question.
The video, time-stamped 12 January, shows three uniformed police officers and another man in civilian clothing crouching with weapons as heavy gunfire is exchanged.
As the gun battle ensues, the officer at the front – Tladi – can be seen firing an automatic rifle and the officer behind waits with a pistol in hand, as the two other men flee.
When the man behind Tladi decides to fire for the first time, Tladi steps out into his line of fire just as the trigger is pulled. He is shot in the back of the head at nearly point-blank range.
Tladi can then be seen lying dead in a pool of his own blood. After minutes of shock and panic, two separate officers can then be seen attempting to manoeuvre Tladi's body.
Following the revelation of the footage, police have declined to comment to South Africa's media.
"At this point, we are unable to comment as there is already a high-level investigation underway by the Hawks [South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] around the killing of the member in Katlehong on Thursday. We will await the outcome of the investigation and communicate at the right time," said Captain Mega Ndobe, the spokesperson for the Katlehong North Police Station, reported the Alberton Record.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesman Moses Dlamini, who has seen the footage, said to Times Live: "What is supposed to be reported is that a policeman was killed by another. But what is reported is that he was killed by robbers.
"It is supposed to be reported to the station commander and the station commander makes sure it gets reported to Ipid. It is the responsibility of all police officers to report such cases."