Wednesday, 29 January 2014 - 08:44
The Hague police accused of discrimination
Police in The Hague have received neighborhood complaints about excessive violence, intimidation and discriminatory behavior. The Action Committee for the Recovery of Faith (Actiecomité Herstel van Vertrouwen), on behalf of the Schilderswijk community in The Hague, filed 48 complaints with the National ombudsman about police force actions in their neighborhood. A spokesperson for the interim-ombudsman Frank van Dooren said this week that he will meet to discuss with the Action Committee. Source: Wikimedia/M.Minderhoud A decision will be made next week if the ombudsman will launch an investigation into police brutality in the Schilderswijk. Michael Ruperti, a lawyer and advisor to the Action Committee, claims that there has been a chain of police brutality incidents in problem areas of The Hague for several months. The committee was set up in November of last year, to help better relations between residents of the Schilderswijk and the police. "Residents complain that officers discriminate against them and apprehend them without cause, using unnecessary violence" Ruperti says. "The residents' trust in the police is heavily disrupted. There is a lot of tension in the neighborhood." Ruperti goes on to say that, since the committee was first set up, complaints have been streaming in. A speaker for the Committee, Yasmina Haifi, explains that the zero tolerance policy the police utilize defeats the point because it goes beyond proportion. "Special squads violently force themselves into the homes of families where one or two children are under suspicion of destruction to property," she explains. "This works out negatively. The harm is far greater than the benefits. It is not effective." Complaints about police brutality are collected by the Committee and transferred to the Ombudsman with request to investigate the scope and seriousness of the problems in the Schilderswijk neighborhood. According to the Committee, the step to the Ombudsman was taken because 'victims' "are repeatedly turned away at the district offices when they want to file a report." It's not about the tackling of hard criminality among the youths of the Schilderswijk, the Committee emphasizes. "What is called into question is the systematic capture and intimidation of youths and residents who are not involved in hard crime."