Saturday 23 January 2021

International court ‘apologises’ about intern’s racism arrest claim, police say

Photo: International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has apologised to the city’s police force after one of its interns accused two police officers of racially motivated brutality after they arrested her earlier this week, Dutch police claim.*

Chaka Laguerre, 30, who is from the US and has a 10-month clerkship at the UN organisation, posted an impassioned protest about her alleged treatment on Facebook on Wednesday evening.

In the post, which has since been set to private, Laguerre said she had been walking her bicycle across the street on a red light to get to work, was stopped by police, arrested for being unable to provide identification, and then ‘roughed up’.

The police on Thursday issued a strongly-worded statement denying the events had taken place as described by Laguerre. They also showed the security camera footage of the arrest to a ‘select group of journalists’. DutchNews.nl has not seen the footage.

According to the AD, the footage shows the two police officers remained calm and controlled and only intervened when Laguerre walked off after failing to produce ID.

Police chief Paul van Musscher has made a complaint to the ICJ. ‘If we make mistakes, we take responsibility but if we are wrongly accused then we act. We will not accept this,’ he said.

Following the court’s apology, the case is now closed, the AD said. The court has not made a public statement.

*Editor’s note: This claim, made by the police in a statement and reported widely in the Dutch media, later transpired to be wrong.

The court wrote to the paper on February 2 stating that ‘contrary to what was published, the court did not apologize to The Hague police in respect of the reported incident. The court, as such, is not party to any proceedings involving the police.’

DutchNews.nl contacted the ICJ independently at the time but received no reply. DutchNews.nl had also contacted Ms Laguerre but received no reply at the time of publication.

Ms Laguerre’s lawyer informed us on July 7 that the original Facebook post was not removed, as we reported earlier, but set to private.

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