A timeline of Nateniël Julies' death — from mass protests to police arrests

03 September 2020 - 11:14 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Three police officers have been arrested in connection with the death of 16-year-old Nateniël Julies from Eldorado Park.
Three police officers have been arrested in connection with the death of 16-year-old Nateniël Julies from Eldorado Park.
Image: Supplied

The death of 16-year-old Nateniël Julies, who had Down syndrome, angered thousands across the globe who continue to demand justice for him and his family.

Julies, from Eldorado Park in the south of Johannesburg, was shot dead, allegedly by police, on the night of Wednesday, August 26, after he failed to respond to police questioning. His family told Newzroom Afrika that he had gone to the tuck shop to buy biscuits when he encountered the officers.

Gauteng premier David Makhura said the boy was caught in a shoot-out between a gang and police.

Here's a timeline of events from his death to community protests:

Julies is killed, protests erupt

Three police officers were injured on Thursday, August 27, during protests after community members accused them of fatally shooting Julies the day before. Two officers were from the local police station and one was from the metro police department. They were deployed to restore calm in the area. Angry protesters also damaged police vehicles and the police station. Four suspects were arrested for public violence.

Members of the Eldorado Park community clashed violently with police on August 27 2020. The community was protesting against the death of a 16-year-old disabled teenager, who was allegedly killed by a police officer. Four community members were arrested for public violence, after at least three police officers were injured.

Community demands removal of “corrupt” officers

Angry residents demanded the removal of allegedly corrupt officers who were accused of killing Julies. During protests, they burnt tyres and threw stones at police who retaliated with rubber bullets.

Local development and economic civil association chairperson Majiet Amiene told TimesLIVE that Julius died in the back of the police van before he could be taken to hospital.

Eldorado Park councillor Peter Rafferty said the protests started after residents went to the police station to demand answers. He said the community wanted the officers implicated to be removed and arrested.

Ipid investigates

Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesperson Ndileka Cola said the department contacted Julies' family as part of the investigation. She said investigators struggled to access witnesses as residents continued with protests on Thursday.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said eight protesters sustained minor to moderate injuries. He said there were no fatalities.

David Makhura responds — August 28 

Premier Makhura said he was disturbed by the killing of Julies, allegedly by police. He said the officers were investigating an incident of stolen car parts in Eldorado Park when the teen was caught in a shoot-out between with police and a gang.

“The boy who was disabled was allegedly caught in the crossfire between a gang and the SA Police Service on Wednesday. I am very disturbed about the events that led to the passing of an innocent boy,” Makhura said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa urges community to assist in investigation — August 28

Ramaphosa issued a statement on Friday urging residents to help Ipid in its investigation. He said the death of the 16-year-old was a concern and that it should not have happened.

“Justice can only prevail if community workers work with our criminal justice system to address alleged injustice or abuse,” he said.

Bheki Cele promises justice — August 28

Police minister Bheki Cele did not mince his words during his visit to Eldorado Park. He said police officers, if found guilty of murder, would be held accountable for their actions.

Cele said Julies was a young, innocent boy who should not have been killed.

16-year-old Nathaniel Julies was shot and killed in Eldorado Park, allegedly by a police officer, on August 26 2020. His family and the community were left devastated. Police minister Bheki Cele paid his respects to the family and addressed the angry community on August 28 2020.

Two cops arrested — August 28

Ipid confirmed the arrests of two police officers from the Eldorado Park crime prevention unit. Cola said the officers would appear before the Protea magistrate's court on Monday. She said they would face murder charges and possibly defeating the ends of justice.

Thousands demand justice in petition- August 31

Angry South Africans called on the government to act against police brutality in an online petition which has received more than 132,000 signatures. The petition was launched by Hazel Waydene, who said Julius was shot for no reason and expressed concern that his story was “tampered with”.

Celebrities add their voices — August 31 

As the death of the 16-year-old continued to trend on Twitter, rapper AKA said he was in touch with the boy's family to find out how he could help. He shared banking details on Twitter and asked his followers to make a contribution to the cause.

Radio hosts Hulisani Ravele and Zizo Beda slammed the lack of accountability. Ravele responded to Ramaphosa's letter and said the country needed stricter laws and action,  not condolences.

Pickets outside magistrate's court — August 31

Two officers implicated in Julies' death appeared in court on Monday, where angry protesters held placards demanding justice. Reverend Khowa Jingqi told TimesLIVE that the boy's parents, who were not in court, would be scarred by his death for a long time.

He said Julies was a “lovely boy” who was loved in his community.

Two police officers appeared in the Protea magistrate's court on August 31 2020 in connection with the death of Nathaniël Julies. The pair face several charges, including premeditated murder, related to the death of the disabled teen who was gunned down in Eldorado Park on August 26 2020.

Third officer arrested — September 1

On Tuesday, Ipid confirmed an arrest of a third police officer who is facing charges of  defeating the ends of justice and being in possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The department said the officer was in police custody and would appear in court on Thursday.

A third officer appeared in court in connection with the murder of Nateniël Julies on September 3 2020. Vorster Netshiongolo was arrested on September 1 2020. Two other police officers have also been arrested for the death of the disabled teenager who was shot dead on August 26 2020.

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