#JusticeForNathaniel: South Africa Mourns Police Killing of Teenager Nathaniel Julius
Sixteen-year-old Nathaniel Julius, a child living with Down Syndrome, was recently killed by the South African police.
Julius was a teenager living with Down Syndrome. On Wednesday, police were allegedly investigating gang activities related to theft of car parts. Julius is reported to have been out by a nearby shop eating biscuits while police were conducting a search. Police then approached Julius for questioning but he could not appropriately respond given his disability. Police then shot Julius, took him into the back of a police car and drove him to Baragwanath Hospital where EWN reports that his body was "dumped".
In an interview with Newzroom Afrika, Julius' mother, Bridget Harris, pleaded her son's innocence. "My boy is innocent and where he's going God is in control". She further pleaded with the policeman known as "Scorpion" to come forward and tell the truth about the events that led to her son's death, "He's a policeman, he's supposed to protect him not kill him". Harris lamented the absence of her son from her life "He did not deserve to die like this… it's torn, there's a hole in this house, there's a void between sisters and brothers. You know we had a connection, we dance together, we sing together, we eat together, we laugh together. Nobody can fulfill that void in our hearts, it will take a long time".
News of Julius' death resulted in a standoff between Eldorado Park residents and the police amid protests. Videos of clashes between police and the community surfaced on Twitter and #JusticeForNathanielJulius trended on social media locally and internationally. Waves of support have been pouring in for the family and community from the likes of AKA, Solange, South African TV personality, Hulisani Ravele, and several others.
WHAT EXPLANATION IS THERE FOR KILLING THIS CHILD IN COLD BLOOD, IN THE STREET LIKE HIS LIFE IS WORTH ABSOLUTELY NOT… https://t.co/jWvyseJCpM— AKA (@AKA)1598559929.0
Rest in peace young Nathaniel Julius. Happy Birthday beautiful Toyin. We are still fighting for you Breonna. There'… https://t.co/0ADUDpL9Pr— solange knowles (@solange knowles)1598557219.0
Mr President @CyrilRamaphosa, don't come at us with your condolences & sadness over the murder of #NathanielJulius.… https://t.co/U5mWWP1HEF— Hulisani Ravele (@Hulisani Ravele)1598593341.0
According to @TheCitizen_News #NathanielJulius was eating near a truck when he was killed by a South African police… https://t.co/SF6FS1N5kv— MEFeater Magazine (@MEFeater Magazine)1598569401.0
A Disabled child was killed because his Disability didn't give him the privilege to speak up when they pulled a gun… https://t.co/Va0l6QrH9w— Wheelsntoys on IG ♿🌈 (@Wheelsntoys on IG ♿🌈)1598595871.0
My son is also non-verbal. It’s devastating that Nathaniel Julius was killed because he couldn’t explain 😭💔 there’s… https://t.co/flaqyNzLPh— Naledi Chirwa (@Naledi Chirwa)1598548552.0
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate, IPID, confirmed that they had sent investigators to Eldorado Park. Spokesperson Ndileka Cola said the scene was reportedly volatile but that they were hoping to properly establish what happened.
Tensions have been growing between civilians and police across the globe as governments operate in hostility to civil unrest. Recently in America, Jacob Blake was shot dead by police as he walked away from them and this deened protest developments in the Black Lives Matter movement. #JusticeForNathanielJulius is another tragic wave in #BlackLivesMatter that has seen African solidarity gain strength globally.
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