Henriquez family loses latest battle to name officers in ‘choke hold’ case

Statue of justice.
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The family of Mitch Henriquez, who died in police custody after being arrested at a music festival, have failed in their latest bid to have the identities of the officers disclosed.

Henriquez’ relatives had requested the names so they could call the officers as witnesses in a civil action against the police. Two officers are due to stand trial accused of assaulting him with fatal consequences.

The 42-year-old from Aruba was arrested and pinned to the ground by police while leaving an open-air concert in The Hague’s Zuiderpark in 2015. He died in hospital the next day. The incident triggered several nights of rioting in the city’s economically deprived, multi-ethnic Schilderswijk district.

The family have appealed against an earlier court decision not to release the officers’ names and brought a fresh action on Tuesday at the district court in The Hague, but a judge dismissed the second attempt as an abuse of process.

All five officers were internally disciplined by the police force, but none has been dismissed. Henriquez’ family challenged the decision not to put them all on trial, but their case was dismissed in February.

The trial was due to begin in April, but was delayed when a forensic pathologist hired by the defence challenged the initial conclusion that Henriquez died as a result of being placed in a choke hold. The defence pathologist argued he was more likely to have succumbed to a heart attack.

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