Police choke hold may not have killed Mitch Henriquez - defence report

Police choke hold may not have killed Mitch Henriquez – defence report

The trial of two police officers in connection with the death of Aruban tourist Mitch Henriquez has been postponed after a report concluded that the choke hold he was placed in may not have caused his death. A forensic pathologist who was asked by the defence team to compile a report on the death said the 42-year-old was more likely to have succumbed to a heart attack. Henriquez died in hospital the day after being pinned to the ground by five officers as he left an open-air concert in The Hague's Zuiderpark in June 2015. The incident triggered several nights of rioting in the city's economically deprived, multi-ethnic Schilderswijk district. Two officers were due to stand trial on April 6 for allegedly assaulting Henriquez with fatal consequences. An earlier report found that oxygen deprivation caused by excessive police force was the most likely explanation for his death. Richard Korver, who is representing Henriquez' family in the case, told the AD he is not impressed by the alternative pathologist's report. 'He has not examined the body himself,' Korver told the paper. 'In addition, he has used the documents to make assumptions which do not stand up.' The court will now hold a pre-trial hearing to discuss the latest report. In a written decision the judges explained: 'The cause of Mr Henriquez's death is an important point in the case. Consequently more detailed research needs to be undertaken in the light of the submitted report. The pathologist and another forensic doctor must have the opportunity to comment in writing.' All five officers were internally disciplined by the police force, but none has been dismissed. Two of them were provisionally suspended from duty and banned from carrying guns for a year. Henriquez's family lost a bid last month to have all five officers put on trial together.  More >