Family of police chokehold victim incensed by "light" punishment

Mitch Henriquez
Mitch Henriquez. (Mitch Henriquez / Facebook)

Mitch Henriquez' family is angry and disappointed by the "light" punishments given to the police officers who were involved in his death, cousin Alex Dijhoff said to newspaper AD. The family's lawyer called it a "shame".

On Thursday morning it was revealed that two of the five officers involved in the arrest that killed Henriquez in The Hague last year, were put on probation. Two others were given a written warning. The fifth was not punished. In October it was already revealed that one officer was found guilty of dereliction of duty, the other four of serious dereliction of duty. All five officers can now return to work in principle. Henriquez died a day after being arrested at a music festival. An autopsy showed that he was likely suffocated due to a chokehold used on him during the arrest. 

"The punishments are too light", Henriquez' cousin Alex said to the newspaper. "Of course we are dissatisfied. We would have prefer to have seen that at least the two officers who are still being prosecuted were fired. But we won't talk about that. In any case, the police themselves found that they are guilty and that is important for the lawsuit still coming against those two."

The two officers who were given probation are being prosecuted for culpable homicide and assault resulting in death. The trial is scheduled for April.

The family's lawyer Richrd Korver thinks the police should have awaited the results of that lawsuit before deciding that those two officers can go back to work. "The five months suspension until April could have been added, I think. Someone died after all. But apparently the police think that these people can now go back to work." he said to the newspaper. "Shame. Both the punishments and the fact that [the family] was not informed about the press conference in advnace."

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