Police take action against four officers involved in Aruban holidaymaker’s death

Mitch Henriquez died after being pinned to the ground by five police officers in The Hague.
Mitch Henriquez died after being pinned to the ground by five police officers in The Hague

Four of the five police officers involved in the fatal arrest of a holidaymaker from Aruba have been disciplined for failing in their duty of care.

Two officers who used disproportionate violence during the arrest in The Hague in 2015 have been put on probation for a year and will be sacked if they offend again. Two others have been given a written warning.

The death of Mitch Henriquez in June last year sparked several days of rioting in the Schilderswijk district and was heavily criticised by Aruba’s government.

Henriquez, 42, was arrested in the city’s Zuiderpark after allegedly shouting that he was carrying a gun. He was pinned to the ground by five officers before being dragged unconscious into a police van. He died in hospital the next day.


An investigation by two police scientists earlier this year said the arrest team made a string of errors and failed to follow procedures in restraining Henriquez. 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.

The internal disciplinary measures are unconnected to the public prosecution department’s decision to prosecute two of the police officers on charges of manslaughter. The case is due to be heard in February and April.

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