The family of an Aruban tourist who died after being put in a choke hold by police have called for an independent inquiry to be held into the five officers who arrested him.
Mitch Henriquez’s relatives told TV show EenVandaag that they had no confidence in the official investigation. Their lawyer Richard Korver wrote to justice minister Ard van der Steur on Monday complaining that the officers had discussed the case freely among themselves despite being under investigation. He also asked why no evidence had been gathered from a Whatsapp group the officers apparently set up to talk about the case.
An internal inquiry by the national detective force, which handles complaints against the police, found that Henriquez died as a result of injuries sustained while he was being restrained in The Hague’s Zuiderpark. The five officers pinned the 42-year-old Aruban to the ground after he allegedly shouted that he was carrying a gun.
Henriquez’s death in June triggered several nights of violence and rioting in the city’s Schilderswijk district, where relations between police and the migrant-dominated population have been tense for years.
Sources have told broadcaster Nos that the prosecution service is planning to charge the five officers with manslaughter, but no official decision has been made.
Henriquez’s mother, Maria Henriquez, said she was concerned about conflicts of interest after learning that the five suspects have the same lawyer as 21 other police officers who are witnesses in the case. ‘We can’t trust the officers any more,’ she told RTL Nieuws.
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