Dutch-Moroccan cop arrested in new Netherlands racial profiling case
A police officer in Amsterdam pressed charges against his colleagues in Enschede this week over an incident in May that got out of hand. According to the officer, 29-year-old Anis Raiss, he ended up being arrested because of his Moroccan-Dutch origin - ethnic profiling, he said in an interview with NRC.
Raiss went to the Enschede police station with his father and brother to help them report a crime. The police officers at the station refused to believe that Raiss was one of their colleagues, telling him that "he does not look like a police officer", the Amsterdam officer said to the newspaper. Raiss did not have identification on him, and the officers at the station refused to search for him on the internal system.
The Amsterdam officer was eventually violently arrested and spent a night in the detention center in Deventer. All the time thinking about the day about a year before on which he was awarded a silver pen for being a model police officer.
Raiss believes that his Moroccan ethnicity played a big roll in his arrest. "Ethnic profiling", he said to NRC. "It's difficult for me to put it like that, but that's exactly what it felt like. They only saw a Moroccan. If I walked into the office as a blond boy, then this would not have happened."
Afterwards Raiss was put on leave while the incident was investigated. He had to hand in his gun and was interviewed by the police's Security, Integrity and Complaints department. A day after the camera footage of his arrest was reviewed, he was allowed back to work. But no word about repercussions for those who arrested him.
On his first day back on the job, Raiss had a panic attack after glimpsing a reflection of himself in his uniform. His chief was understanding and gave him a sick day. He also arranged mediation with the officers who arrested Raiss. "As if this was a mere labor dispute. I refused."
"The police have a problem", Raiss said to NRC. "But it is clear to me that they are not taking it seriously. An incident like this should lead to internal noise, indignation, investigation. But they do nothing. Image damage is more important." Which is why he pressed charges against his colleagues on Monday. He hopes that the police will investigate and that this will prevent such incidents being tolerated in the future.
In response to the interview, the National Police only told NRC that they are taking the issue "very seriously". "After this incident, an investigation was immediately launched into all aspects of this matter. This investigation is still in progress and until it is completed, the police leadership will draw no conclusions. For this reason we will not comment on the story of this officer."
PvdA councilor in Amsterdam Sofyan Mbarki expressed concern about the incident on Twitter. "Does this top colleague get support from the Amsterdam police, or are the leaders staying silent out of loyalty", he tweeted. He plans to put questions the Amsterdam mayor and alderman about this, AT5 reports. "I want to know how we are going to ensure that this officer is not treated as a pariah by his colleagues because he hung the dirty laundry outside. His supervisors must be alert on that."