MyNews24

A knife attack

By: MikeHampton 2014-08-05 09:27
Last Thursday, I witnessed a horrible fight between two Allsound Security guards and a Gershwin Jonkerman in Long Street, Knysna. After the initial, bloody fight, Jonkerman grabbed a knife from the boot of his car and raced into Woodmill Lane, the nearest mall, with the seeming intention of stabbing the guards.

The guards have laid charges against Jonkerman and he will likely be punished for assault with a deadly weapon. I have also had several subscribers tell me that Jonkerman "is no angel" as he has regularly been in trouble with the law.
But the official view of what occurred before that doesn't add up. My query is whether rules of procedure were broken and this mishandling escalated it into a situation where the public was at risk?

What happened last, with the knife in Woodmill Lane's area, isn't in dispute. I was next to Jonkerman's car and the first person he passed as he raced there. I was busy interviewing a witness and was slow off the mark to catch up, prompted to do so by the many female screams which emanated from the direction of Food Hut and the ATM area. There, i found four men, including the security guards, having tackled Jonkerman to the ground whilst trying to get the knife out of his hand. I took photos.

What is in dispute is what happened before that. Let's start off with Allsound Security's press release which i will then comment on:

Yesterday at approximately 12h45 our Control Room received a call for assistance at a local shopping centre.An altercation had broken out between 2 men on the property. Security Officers approached both men requesting that they leave the premises and proceeded to escort them from site. One of the men continued with the disturbance whilst hurling abuse at our Officers. Officers approached the man requesting that he return to his vehicle and cease the disturbance.At this point, the man punched one of the officers in the face before head-butting him.

It appeared that the man had then conceded to return to his vehicle (parked on the pavement outside the premises) to leave. Our Officers were on their way to return to their posts when they heard members of the public yelling. As they turned around, the man was running at them with a knife in his hand.

Officers attempted to block the mans’ attacks by placing a trolley between them. A scuffle then broke out while officers removed the knife from the man who had attempted to stab the Officer.

Allsound Security Management as well as Centre Management have obtained statements from independent witnesses and verified such through site CCTV footage. The Security Officers are in the processing of opening cases of Assault GBH against the assailant at the Knysna Police Station. The matter will be handled by the Knysna SAPS.

Allsound Security Management are satisfied that the guards acted within their scope of work using the required amount of force to bring the situation under control. We are pleased to report that despite their injuries, both men have reported for Duty as usual.


This is what doesn't add up:

1. What i first witnessed happened approximately 10 minutes before Allsound Security was radioed for back-up. Why so long?

2. Why weren't the police immediately called?

3. The crowd at the initial scene were, without exception, against Allsound Security for so badly beating Jonkerman. They never saw Jonkerman as the problem.

4. Some were also against an off-duty policeman in plain clothes who they said was the instigator of the fight, the man who'd called Allsound Security to allegedly deal with Jonkerman. They deduced that from body language as they could not tell me what he'd said in what they believed was Xhosa. Three people pointed him out to me and showed me his car. It was one of these that said that he was a policeman. Later, from one of my photos, someone identified him as Constable Mkize (the Knysna SAPS have yet to confirm this). Apparently, the spark that started it all was an argument between the two outside Pick 'n Pay's clothing store. What is unclear is what happened after they left the premises.

5. The Allsound press release says that Jonkerman "conceded to return to his vehicle [parked on the pavement outside the premises] to leave. Our Officers were on their way to return to their posts when they heard members of the public yelling. As they turned around, the man was running at them with a knife in his hand." This makes no sense in the bigger context as witnesses said that Jonkerman had walked away from Mkize and that it was next to his car, in Long Street itself, that the fight happened. This is where i found them, Jonkerman bleeding and lumps already showing on his head.

6. Those lumps work with what another witness said i.e. the guards were hitting him with their radios. The same witness said that he'd stopped his car in the middle of the road and, with the help of another passenger, pulled the security guards off Jonkerman because it was so violent that he was afraid they were "beating him to death".

7. I witnessed how hard it was to get the larger guard to stop and walk away. Jonkerman, once they'd got the guards off him, was in a wild state, seemingly unable to hear anyone, including his girlfriend, and wanting to attack the bigger guard. One of the good samaritans stepped between them. Allsound walked away. With us nearby thinking the situation was over, it was with surprise that Jonkerman opened the hatch back of his car and retrieved what must have been the knife before racing off.

8. After Jonkerman was relieved of his weapon, why was he not kept subdued but instead allowed to return to his motor vehicle? The question applies to the guards and Constable Mkize?

9. An old, white man had also intervened. From his body language, he seemed to know Jonkerman and seemed to be both trying to calm him down and reprimand him. One lady on my FB agreed with that feeling and added that the old man had actually grabbed Jonkerman by the ear. If so, he was one of the bravest people there that day. The same lady commentator said one security guard had actually hidden behind her car.

10. After a few minutes chatting to people in the area, and, particularly, the owner of Food Hut who'd shut her roller door window during the incident, i noticed what must have been the same knife approximately 8m away in a bush at the entrance to the car park. At my look, others saw it too and said to each other that no one must touch it as it was evidence. Note that Allsound's press release says that their "officers removed the knife from [Jonkerman] who had attempted to stab the Officer." Why throw the weapon into a bush instead of holding on to it?

11. I noticed SAPS and local law enforcement had arrived, almost simultaneously. I counted nine of them in uniform alone. Johan Kapp, from Allsound, had arrived too. Several were standing in front of Jonkerman who was sitting in his car. I went there not only to tell the police about the knife but to check if Jonkerman's girlfriend, Venice Valentine, and their baby she was clutching, were ok - from the moment i'd arrived, i'd noticed how traumatised she was. It has been alleged that it was she who had initially identified Mikize in Woodmill Lane, pointing him out to her boyfriend. It would seem that there was bad blood between the trio. One rumour is that Mkize had bust Jonkerman two days previously for drugs (again, please note that this is unconfirmed).

12. After speaking to Valentine, i asked if i could take photos. When she agreed, i told her to tell her boyfriend so that he wasn't caught by surprise. As i walk around the front of the car, it looked like she was talking to him so i assumed she did - he had no objection to me taking the photos. The wildness in his eyes was gone and he was slumped as if his breath had left him - his adrenalin was obviously gone and he now looked and acted as the beaten man he was.

13. Cheryl Britz, from the CPF (Community Policing Forum) and Constable Moorman wanted me to move, saying that i was in the way of the paramedic who'd arrived too. Considering that Britz was more in the way, that made no sense. Additionally, the agressive tone of Moorman made him way out of line (what is it with so many policemen in Knysna treating the public so poorly?). After the few seconds it took to take the photos, i left with the impression that their real reasoning was that they never wanted me to take the photos.

14. A bigger question must be why was Mikize, at one stage, allowed to stand right in front of Jonkerman. Surely you keep all of those involved apart? Surely it's protocol to defuse situations and keep antagonists apart for theirs and the public's safety.

15. I left disappointed with the police and only remembered about the knife when i reached the bush again. The knife was gone.

16. Allsound state that "the Security Officers are in the processing of opening cases of Assault GBH against the assailant at the Knysna Police Station." They posted that 49 hours after the incident. Why weren't charges immediately laid?

17. "Allsound Security Management as well as Centre Management have obtained statements from independent witnesses and verified such through site CCTV footage" - their press release would lead you to believe that their version is conclusive, that witnesses and CCTV footage validate one truth. What they've left out, which Anouk Edwards, the owner of Woodmill Lane, has confirmed, is that Woodmill Lane's CCTV cameras do not cover the road alongside the mall. Additionally, i witnessed, and spoke to, two of Woodmill Lane's staff who were the most vocal against Allsound Security, so much so that one of them was later told to move away by a policeman.

18. "Allsound Security Management are satisfied that the guards acted within their scope of work using the required amount of force to bring the situation under control. We are pleased to report that despite their injuries, both men have reported for Duty as usual" - what exactly were their injuries? It must be assumed that they were minimal for them to be back on duty. Jonkerman's, which were clearly visible, were many, from cuts to swelling that likely result from their radios. I even took a photo of a bite mark.

Constable Chris Spies, the generally non-communicative communication officer for Knysna SAPS never answered my questions. He used to be "Chris" and i used to be "Mike" but my criticism of the police has undoubtedly relegated me into the more formal, "Mr Hampton". I bumped into him in a friendly mood outside the Mall where the bomb scare was today. He said he'd forwarded my questions to Captain Malcolm Pojie, the SAPS provincial communication officer, through which all communication must now flow. It doesn't assist any town when police faraway, without any personal stake, now get to control information. That makes "communication" far more about "image" and like "propaganda" than simply stating the truth. The SAPS have forgotten that they are actually there to service us, the public. Of course, as expected, Captain Potjie hasn't responded. As with the recent case involving Johann Burmeister, a cop who would appear to have been framed by his fellow cops, Potjie told an inquiring journalist that the incriminating way she asked her questions could lead to civil action being taken against her.

Spies did try explain that they don't know all sides as Jonkerman never laid a counter charge against Allsound. Expecting Jonkerman to be in jail for the knife attack part, i was surprised to be informed that he hasn't been arrested. That not a single policeman, especially Constable Mkize, had bother to investigate as part of their responsibility to the protecting the public raises red flags.

Like many white people in Knysna, i have often complimented Allsound, coincidentally, on this site, for knife attack i witnessed on Knysna Waterfront. I've not only got an ear nearer to the street than most but have witnessed their speediness. I deliberate mentioned us "white people" because the immediate reaction by many coloured and black people on my initial Facebook post was very different. But to me, and others i know, we live in an age that is increasingly violent so, in a small town continually failed by police apathy and corruption, we look to companies such as Allsound to help protect us. Their alarm protects the property i live on and there's the odd guard of theirs in town that i find particularly friendly.

However, this matter has dented my respect for them. They chose not to answer my emailed questions. I made several telephonic requests for Declan Nurse, one of the owners, to call or meet me - he didn't. I then appealed to Colin Stunden, the other owner, and he said he'd look into it but all that resulted in was the later posting of the above press release and their marketing department telling me to find it on their Facebook. They first chose to be non-communicative. They chose to delay. I have to wonder if they managed a bad situation into their favour?

Do not forget the overriding point which is that the public was in danger. The goal must be to learn and, from that, to minimise that risk.

Did Allsound Security's guards handle this particular situation incorrectly so that it resulted in a threat to the public? Or were they heroes? We may never know.

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