It is with great sadness and dismay that the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) learned of the tragic killing of young Nathaniel Julius in Eldorado Park, Johannesburg. This is yet another death at the hands of the South African Police. According to media reports, witnesses described the child, with a biscuit in hand, being quite excited about seeing the police. This characterizes the warm, affectionate and passive behavioural styles often associated with many children with Down Syndrome, and it is beyond belief how anyone can choose to open fire on such a child. We hope that there will be swift, just and fitting consequences for the perpetrator(s). PsySSA calls on government to pay greater attention to violent crime in our country and do more to ensure the safety and well-being of society’s vulnerable individuals. The disproportionate use of violence and the abuse of power by security personnel requires an urgent and considered response.

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