Intimidated, manhandled, locked up over lipstick message

A message written in lipstick on the side window of a car illegally parked in the complex where she lived, resulted in a petite white mother from Germiston spending hours handcuffed in a police station – an experience which still haunts her every day.

“I will have to receive professional counselling to try to come to terms with my horrific experience,” a tearful Susan Serwick, 41, told the Pretoria News.

She was arrested a day after writing the message on the car window.

The charge was malicious damage to property and resisting arrest.

Nothing ever came of the charges, and after spending a few fearful hours in the police station, she was told she was free to go.

Serwick is now claiming a total of R96 000 in damages from the Minister of Police – R66 000 for unlawful arrest and R30 000 in general damages.

Her nightmare was sparked by a car which was illegally parked on a yellow line in front of her unit in the complex where she lived.

It was at about 6pm on Sunday, March 16, this year and Serwick wrote on the side window “Don’t park here.”

“I only had lipstick with me and I did not know who the car belonged to. I only knew it was a visitor to one of the tenants.

“The next evening black policemen came knocking on my door. They said I had to go with them and an officer roughly grabbed me by the arm and cuffed me.

“The next moment he read me my rights. He said he knew how to deal with my type.”

Serwick said she at first thought she was being kidnapped, as the police were using an unmarked police vehicle.

She decided to walk out of her unit with the men, as she wanted to call someone in the complex to witness what was happening.

“They insisted that I go with them to the police station in their vehicle. I begged them to allow me to first fetch my teenage son from a gym, but they refused.”

Serwick said she was manhandled by one of the officers, who told her she was resisting arrest.

“I felt vulnerable as I was alone at home. I am a tiny woman and I was left bruised on my arms from the cuffs and the force with which I was handled.”

Serwick was detained for about three hours at the Mondeor police station before a family member was able to summons the help of a lawyer.

She was told she was free to go home, but she was warned to appear in court later.

The prosecutor, however, refused to place the case on the roll.

“I have lost all trust in the police. It was a horrific experience. I was taken from home without being allowed to first inform my family. My son was writing exams at the time and he was extremely traumatised by the events.

“Money will not heal my emotional scars. Nothing will fix what they (the police) damaged. I thought this would never happen to me. It still feels like a dream.”

Sources say the trespassing car owner is black.

Source: IOL