Henry Oktober, the resident at Heidelberg who died in hospital from alleged police brutality, named the officers who are said to have assaulted him.

This is according to ward councillor James Gelderbloem who said incidents of alleged police brutality had made the residents of the Overberg town apprehensive in reporting crime.

The 42-year-old Oktober died on Wednesday. He was arrested and held overnight in police holding cells for being drunk in public.

Gelderbloem said one of the officers who allegedly assaulted Oktober was involved in a previous police brutality incident during 2015 but “the matter was swept under the mat” and the family of the victim who died while in police custody “were misled. There is a trust issue between the community and police.

Gelderbloem also said “The community is aware of the many irregularities at SAPS in Heidelberg and they are up in arms over this most recent incident”.

On Saturday, three days after his death, another man was found hanging in holding cells at the Heidelberg Police Station.

Speaking to the Cape Times, Oktober’s family said they were distraught and traumatised after his death at George Hospital.

He had been in a coma since Monday and died late on Wednesday.

This was not the first incident in which a family member suffered at the hands of police, according to a family spokesperson who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation. The family had been prepared for the worst when they were told that Oktober’s organs had been failing and he was on a ventilator as he could not breathe on his own.

Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie confirmed Oktober was arrested for being drunk in public.

Pojie said “(We) can confirm that the mentioned person was arrested on Friday September 25 at about 3.45pm at Pentz Street, Heidelberg CBD, and charged with being drunk public and disorderly”.

He also confirmed police had opened an inquest docket after officers made the discovery of a body hanging in holding cells on Saturday.

Pojie said “A detainee was found hanging from the grill of the cell door on Saturday at about 3.25pm. The discovery was made when members visited the cells for inspection. No foul play is suspected. The deceased was initially arrested for disorderly behaviour. The matter is being investigated by Ipid”.

For the time being, Ipid officials would visit Heidelberg to conduct an outreach initiative in the community.

Ndileka Cola Ipid spokesperson said a preliminary investigation into Oktober’s death was under way.

Cola said “Ipid Western Cape office would also conduct an outreach effort in that area on October 8 as there were numerous policing challenges and unhappiness about police conduct. We can confirm a community leader contacted the directorate with regards to these allegations. The directorate immediately conducted preliminary inquiries, which confirmed that the allegations warranted a full investigation”.

No arrests have yet been made. Cola also confirmed they were investigating the death of a detainee found hanging in police cells.