Three cops investigated in 2014 shootings

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The public prosecutor is investigating three different Brabant police officers involved in shooting incidents last year, officials told broadcaster Omroep Brabant. The shootings took place in Tilburg and Oosterhout, with prosecutors questioning if the use of lethal force was appropriate in either situation.

Police were led on a chase through the center of Tilburg by a car with two men inside on May 28. The passenger eventually got out of the vehicle and was arrested, but the driver sped off. He ditched the car on Tatraweg and fled on foot.

Two officers shot at the man as he was running away, striking the suspect at least once, prosecutors said. A further hearing on the officers’ conduct will be held, as it is not clear if they acted properly in firing shots, the broadcaster reported.

“The starting point must be that police are correct to take action against criminals,” Brabant police chief Hans Visser wrote in a statement to the broadcaster this week.

A November 25 incident in Oosterhout began as a traffic stop where a 23-year-old from the town was stopped for outstanding fines. He then drove into one of the officers, leading the policeman to fire several shots at the moving car. That officer will be prosecuted, while the officer’s partner, who fired a single shot at the car’s rear tire, was not charged.

The Oosterhout man was not injured in the case.

Visser stands by his officers’ conduct in both cases. “It is hard to swallow that the colleagues are now being prosecuted for such a serious criminal offence, where they acted out of their responsibility as police officers,” he wrote.

“It takes things too far to prosecute them the same way as a criminal,” he added. “Obviously, this has a huge impact on our people.”