Police chokehold death: Family wants cops’ names to continue lawsuit

Mitch Henriquez
Mitch Henriquez. (Mitch Henriquez / Facebook)

The family of Mitch Henriquez is demanding to know the names of the police officers involved in the arrest that turned fatal for the Aruban man in a lawsuit filed against the State. The family wants to know the cops names to continue civil proceedings against them and for their own peace of mind, their lawyer Richard Korver said in court on Thursday. The state's lawyer claims that the officers' lives may be in danger if their names were released, AD reports. 

Henriquez died soon after being arrested at The Hague music festival Night at the Park in the summer of 2015. An autopsy later determined that he died due to a crushed larynx, likely caused by a chokehold the police used on him. Five police officers were involved in the arrest, two are being prosecuted for his death.

Since the incident the Public Prosecutor kept the names of the officers involved secret for their own safety. Mitch's mother, sisters and cousin want the names so that they can hold the officers responsible for the fatal arrest through civil proceedings. They also want to research the officers themselves. "I want to know who the officers are, I want to see them, otherwise my heart will not rest", Henriquez mother said in court on Friday. His cousin added that the Prosecutor's insistence on keeping the names secret makes him feel like the cops are the victims, instead of the family.

According to Korver, there is no evidence that the officers are still subject to threats from society. He also added that the officers' names don't have to be publicly disclosed, just give the names to him and the family. Both he and the family emphasized that they don't want to publish the officers' names in the newspapers, they  just want to know them themselves. The lawyer called it inappropriate and insulting that they can't know the names.

The State's lawyer pointed out that the officers were subject to serious threats in the past. For example, there were calls to go to their children's schools to kill them. He also noted that a previous court ruled that the names could be kept secret. 

The court will rule on March 31st.