Family of Athlone man allege cops tampered with evidence

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

The family of deceased Michael Volkwyn this weekend accused the police of deleting video footage detailing the events that led to their brother’s death earlier this month.

Michael Volkwyn. Picture from the Volkwyn family archive

Michael Volkwyn. Picture from the Volkwyn family archive

Police have previously claimed Volkwyn shot himself when police officers entered his house during a two-day siege that ended on May 13.

Volkwyn was also accused of shooting a police officer in the face during the siege on his property, during which police wanted to remove 13 dogs from his house.

The siege had been the culmination of ongoing confrontations between the police and Volkwyn whose dog had attacked a tenant on his property. The tenant laid a charge against him with the police in April.

Michael’s brother Roy Volkwyn yesterday told Weekend Argus his brother had 32 video cameras around his house as a security measure.

“Every (house) window was covered, by one or more cameras. So a person outside any window would have been captured,” he said.

“Also movement in the courtyard would have been picked up… (including) the (police) sniper, if he was in the courtyard.

“He would have recorded what was happening. The police removed all the footage. They tampered with evidence. They deleted the video files leading up to his death.”

He added: “We suspect he had a vision he would die at his house at the hands of the police.”

The family believes their brother would not have committed suicide and appealed to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to confirm how Volkwyn died.

Volkwyn said the family also wanted to know if the police officer shot in the face “was hit by a direct shot or by a ricochet”.

“While SAPS (police) implies a direct shot, it could have been a ricochet that injured him. I can accept Michael firing a warning shot. He would have known that a direct shot at a policeman would result in massive retaliation,” he said.

Constable Noloyiso Rwexana, spokesman for the Western Cape police, said all queries about the police activity during the siege should be directed to IPID.

IPID confirmed that it has “opened a preliminary investigation into the death”.

It told the Volkwyn family in a letter last week this “means that we will investigate the allegations made against the SAPS (police) to establish if there was any police action involved in the death”.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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