Justice for Natheniël Julies: what you need to know about the teen's death
The death of a disabled teenager allegedly at the hands of a police officer in Eldorado Park, Gauteng, has sent shock waves across the globe.
Natheniël Julies, 16, died on Wednesday.
Here is what you need to know:
Julies was allegedly shot by police officers after he allegedly failed to respond to police questioning him. According to the family, he was at a tuck shop buying biscuits.
TimesLIVE reported that Julies died before he was taken to hospital in the back of a police van.
An unidentified member of the family told Newzroom Afrika they were broken.
“My brother was at the shop buying biscuits. Afterwards, he went to the Hillbrow flats to sit with other children and the police came by. They called my brother outside and asked him a few questions but he couldn’t answer them because he was disabled,” she said.
Members of the community marched to Eldorado Park police station calling for answers. They said they felt let down by police officers who were supposed to be protecting them.
Four community members were arrested for public violence after at least three police officers were injured.
Crossfire between police and gang
Gauteng premier David Makhura said Julies was allegedly caught in crossfire between police and a gang in the area.
Makhura said police were responding to a tip-off about stolen car parts in Eldorado Park when Julies was shot.
“I am very disturbed about the events that led to the passing of an innocent boy,” said Makhura.
TimesLIVE reported on Friday that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) would launch an investigation into the teenager's death. Ipid spokesperson Ndileka Cola said investigators struggled to get to the scene on Wednesday as the situation was volatile.
“When they managed to access it, it was almost impossible to conduct interviews as the community was violent,” she said.
The shooting made global news after US musician Solange Knowles added her voice to those condemning police brutality against black people.
“Rest in peace young Nathaniel Julies. Happy birthday beautiful Oluwatoyin 'Toyin' Salau. We are still fighting for you Breonna Taylor. There's such a limit to these words, but we will never forget you. What is justice with all this loss and pain?” Knowles wrote on Twitter.
Media personality Leanne Dlamini also shared a post about Julies: “Rest in peace, brown skin boy. Your life was not in vain. You were no gangster. You were no thief. You were our son and we will fight for you.”
View this post on Instagram
His name is Nathaniel Julius. 🖤 He was 16 years old. He had Downs Syndrome. He was unarmed, holding a biscuit in his hand. He couldn’t communicate with the police after questioning him, so they shot him, multiple times! Dragged him from under the truck he tried to crawl under, threw him into the back of the police van and dumped him at Baragwanath Hospital citing it was gang violence, because... He was coloured. He was from Eldorado Park. Just like me. We will not rest until we get justice for you Young King. You couldn’t speak so we will SHOUT for you!!!! Using your race and where you are from as a “ gang violence “ cover up will not work this time. Your life was not in vain. You were no gangster. You were no thief. You were our son and we will fight for you! Rest In Peace brown skin boy. 🤎 #JusticeForNathanielJulius #SayHisName #ColouredLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter #SaveOurChildren #IAmNathanielJulius
Justice for Julies
The hashtag #JusticeforNathanielJulius made the top trending list on Twitter as many aired their anger and paid tribute to Julies.
nathaniel julius, a 16-year old boy who lived with down syndrome, was shot and killed by police for eating a cookie by a tuck shop. they then dropped his body by a hospital and his story was tampered with, saying he was involved with gang activities. #JusticeforNathanielJulius pic.twitter.com/xcYCuW4iYm— evol⁷ (@internetphobic) August 27, 2020
just months ago collins khosa was brutally murdered by saps, & now another one of us are gone by the hands of police brutality? were we not loud enough? when will our voices be heard? when will our justice system start protecting our people? #JusticeforNathanielJulius pic.twitter.com/X3AsHUub7J— c a p r i ♡ (@notyrbbyy) August 27, 2020
Not every coloured person is a gangster.Not every coloured person is dangerous.Not every coloured person is uneducated or illiterate.— Sagebotha19 (@sagebotha19) August 28, 2020
We are not the stereotypes you label us https://t.co/DGEZHdHDn0 people are gold.#ColouredLivesMatter.🥺❤️🙏🏽#JusticeforNathanielJulius