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Officers testify in dragging death

JOHANNESBURG — One of nine South African police officers charged with murdering a taxi driver who was dragged from a police vehicle testified Friday that the man insulted him and grabbed a fellow officer’s gun.

The killing of Mido Macia, a Mozambican who died in police custody on Feb. 26, shocked South Africans and viewers around the world after graphic video footage of him being tied to a vehicle by uniformed officers and dragged down a street was broadcast and posted online.

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Protesters gathered outside the Benoni Magistrate’s Court, east of Johannesburg, to demand that the officers not be granted bail. Eight officers were initially arrested, and South Africa media reported Friday that a ninth was also detained.

The bail hearing was adjourned to Monday after affidavits were read.

The lawyer for officer Thamsanqa Ncema, read his client’s testimony, which maintained that 27-year-old Macia was blocking the road with his car, the South African Press Association reported.

‘‘I asked him to move and he insulted me and told me I am a ‘useless cop,’’’ Ncema said in the affidavit.

He said Macia grabbed an officer’s gun and pointed it at them before handing it back. Then an altercation started and Macia was arrested when police backup arrived.

The driver of the police vehicle, Lungisa Ewababa, testified that after his car window was broken in the commotion, he began to drive away and did not realize Macia was being dragged behind him.

Then, Ewababa testified, officers put Macia inside the vehicle and he drove to the police station, SAPA reported.

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