Two police officers are to face criminal proceedings in connection with the death of an Aruban tourist after he was arrested in The Hague last year, the public prosecution service said on Monday.
Mitch Henriquez, 42, died in hospital after being held in choke hold during his arrest at a music festival in a city park.
The public prosecutor said two of the five officers involved in the arrest had not acted in line with official guidelines and this is the reason why they face prosecution.
The arrest itself, a spokesman told website Nu.nl, was correct. ‘He [Henriquez] was sent away and came back talking about a weapon,’ the spokesman is quoted as saying. ‘The police believed he was disturbing the peace.’
Nevertheless, he did not pose such a risk that the violence used to arrest him was merited and he could have been subdued in other ways, the spokesman said.
An internal police report seen by RTL news said that police had used ‘disproportionate force’ during the arrest.
An investigation by two police scientists said the arrest team made a string of errors and failed to follow procedures in restraining Henriquez, RTL reported at the weekend. As well as using the choke hold, they used pepper spray at close range and rubbed it in his face, going against rules that state it should only be used from a distance.
After Henriquez lost consciousness the officers lifted and bundled him into a riot van when they should have called an ambulance, the report noted.
As a result medical assistance arrived too late to the scene. Police discovered that Henriquez had no pulse when he arrived at the station, but did not begin resuscitating him for a further five minutes, the report said.
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