- (Photo: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)
49 cellphones confiscated from police officers in South Africa are set to be used against them in disciplinary proceedings after dozens of cops inappropriately used their devices to photograph national sports star and murder suspect, Oscar Pistorius.
Cops reportedly were so excited to get a chance to see and meet Pistorius after his arrest that many of them took photos or, and with the athletics star known affectionately as "Blade Runner."
The double amputee was arrested earlier this year and charged Feb. 14, 2013 for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who he had fatally shot dead at his home early that morning. Pistorius was granted bail eight days later, and is scheduled to return to court in June as his case proceeds.
Of the 49 cellphones confiscated, South Africa's minister of police has said that four of the devices were "official" police cellphones while the remaining 45 were private handsets.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa confirmed in a written statement to the South African Parliament that the cellphones were taken from police officers at Boschkop Police Station, after they were found to have been used to take pictures of Pistorius as he was transferred between court and the station shortly after his arrest.
Reporting about the mass confiscation, he added: "This action was necessary after it came to light that photos were taken of a high profile individual who had been arrested."
The 49 cellphones were confiscated on Feb. 20, according to reports, which was just six days after the sports star's arrest.
According to reports, after Pistorius was first arrested on Feb. 14 he was taken to the nearby Boschkop police station. He was later moved to another police station for his bail hearing at Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
The latest information will further damage the reputation of the South African police force, as accusations of unprofessionalism continue to be targeted against them. Earlier in the case, lead investigator, Hilton Botha, was revealed to himself be facing seven charges of attempted murder. He was removed from the case and he later went on to resign from the South African police.
Here is a recent video news report on the Oscar Pistorius murder case: