Johannesburg — The Benoni Magistrate's Court was packed to capacity on Monday morning ahead of the appearance of eight policeman implicated in the death of Daveyton taxi driver Mido Macia.
The Mozambican's relatives, delegates from the local taxi association, and family members of the accused filled the three benches inside the court.
Two warrant officers and six constables have been charged with murder following Macia's death in police custody.
They allegedly tied the 27-year-old to the back of a police van and dragged him along a street in Daveyton last Tuesday. An eyewitness filmed the assault.
Macia was found dead in the local police station's holding cells several hours later. A post-mortem examination revealed that he died of head and internal injuries.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini said police reported they had earlier found Macia wrongfully parked on a road and ordered him to move.
"It is alleged that 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," he said.
Dlamini said the officer then called for back-up.
They claimed to have put the "resisting suspect" into the police van and took him to the cells.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions alleged that police had said Macia died when other men attacked him in the cells.