ICJ lawyer at centre of racism row wants police apology for arrest

Photo: International Court of Justice

The American lawyer who was arrested close to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in January is going to court in a bid to win damages and a public apology from the police.

Chaka Laguerre, who works as an intern at the court, accused the police of racially motivated brutality during the arrest in a Facebook post.

The police, however, denied its officers had acted wrongly and said that the ICJ had apologised for Laguerre’s accusations. The ICJ then issued its own statement denying an apology had been given and saying it wanted to find out exactly what happened.

Laguerre’s lawyer Caroline Buisman told the NRC at the weekend that the police had broken the law. ‘How can a small, slender woman end up in a police cell after an apparent traffic offence?’ she said. ‘This out of all proportion.’

The police were also wrong to show surveillance camera footage of the arrest to a select group of journalists and to approach her employer, Buisman said.

Laguerre was stopped by police after she walked across the road with her bike. They say she failed to produce ID when asked and tried to walk off. She says she had been trying to get her ID out of her bike basket.

After spending an hour in a police cell, Laguerre was released without charge.

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