Witness: Police struck Aruban man laying face down

Mitch Henriques (Picture: Facebook/Mitch Henriquez). (Mitch Henriques (Picture: Facebook/Mitch Henriquez))

A witness to Mitch Henriquez' arrest at the Night at the Park music festival in The Hague on Saturday, claims to have seen a police officer striking him on the head while he was lying face down on the ground.

"I saw how the man, who was already lying on his stomach on the ground, was beaten on the head with a police baton. And that while five officers held him down", Esther de Ruijter told the AD.

Henriquez was arrested at the festival on Saturday night after allegedly shouting that he had a weapon. He passed away in hospital on Sunday.

The Public Prosecutor initially stated that Henriquez' became unwell on the way to the police station, but retracted the statement after video footage showed that something seemed to be wrong with the man before he even reached the police van. He also did not seem to have a weapon on him when he was arrested. We are therefore retracting previously drawn conclusions, so that the State Investigation Department can do its job without prejudice”

The State Investigation Department has launched an investigation into the death of the 42 year old Aruban man. An autopsy will be done on his body, the Public Prosecutor announced according to PowNed.

The Aruban community is shocked by Henriquez' death. The opposition party on the island has written a letter to the Dutch government, demanding a "thorough investigation".

Henriquez' death also sent shock waves through communities in The Hague. Some 500 people gathered in Schilderswijk on Monday night to protest against police brutality and racism. The demonstration got out of hand and riot police had to be deployed. Rest only returned to the neighborhood around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday.