49 cellphones confiscated for shooting Oscar Pistorius pictures
49 cellphones were confiscated from South African police officers who had taken pictures of the famed Olympic athlete. Of the 49, four were 'official' phones and the rest were private cellphones.
STELLENBOSCH, South Africa
Even police officers clamored to get photos of Oscar Pistorius on their cellphones after the famed Olympic athlete was arrested for the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, South Africa's minister of police said in a written response to a question in parliament.Skip to next paragraph
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Police minister Nathi Mthethwa said 49 cellphones were confiscated from officers at Boschkop police station in Pretoria after they were used to take photographs of Pistorius when he was being transferred between court and the station soon after his arrest. Mthethwa made the revelation in a reply to parliament on Monday and it was seen by The AP on Tuesday.
"This action was necessary after it came to light that photos were taken of a high profile individual who had been arrested," Mthethwa wrote in the reply to a question by South Africa's opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.
The minister said four "official" cellphones and 45 private phones were taken from the officers on Feb. 20, six days after Pistorius' arrest. They could be used as evidence in possible disciplinary proceedings against the police officers, Mthethwa said. Mthethwa did not reveal how many officers had taken photos of Pistorius or how many — if any — are facing disciplinary action.
The former lead police investigator in the case also told The Associated Press that he had fears that reporters were trying to buy pictures of key pieces of evidence from officers in the first few days after the shooting, including the toilet door through which Pistorius fired the shots that killed Steenkamp inside the athlete's home in the predawn hours of Valentine's Day.
The door was then taken from inside the bathroom in Pistorius' house and put in "a body bag" and moved to a senior policeman's office, former detective Hilton Botha said.
Pistorius was initially held at Boschkop, a station close to his home in suburban Pretoria, after being arrested on Feb. 14 following the killing of Steenkamp at his house. The Olympian was later moved to another police station for his bail hearing at Pretoria Magistrate's Court.