Police made “error after error” in fatal chokehold arrest: Report

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

Five police officers made "error after error" in the arrest of Mitch Henriquez in The Hague last year, according to two police scientists who investigated the event. Henriquez died a day after being arrested at a music festival in June 2015. His death caused days of rioting in Schilderswijk and weeks of general unrest in The Hague. 

The scientists released their report on Monday, just hours before the five police officers are to hear whether or not they will be prosecuted for Henriquez death. They are suspected of aggravated assault with death as the result.

According to the report, which RTL Nieuws managed to get hold of, the "heavy handed use of force against Henriquez", was "disproportionate, excessive and improper". Not only did the officers involved use the controversial chokehold, they also resorted to violence too quickly and got medical assistance too late.

Other problems with the arrest include no division of labor among officers. There was no leadership, the commanding officer joined the fight himself, resulting in him not being able to keep an eye on what exactly was happening. Pepper spray was used incorrectly - it was rubbed into Henriquez face, instead of being sprayed from a distance according the rules.

Heriquez was pushed, pulled, punched and pressured with batons on his Achilles tendon until he was finally on the ground, according to the report. Officers finally managed to cuff him. But by that time he was no longer moving. Instead of getting an ambulance, Henriquez was carried to a police van and taken to the Zuiderpark police station. At the station he had no heartbeat, but resuscitation only started five minutes alter. Henriquez died in hospital a day later. A crushed larynx caused his death, according to the autopsy.