Forensic doctor: Police custody death more likely caused by cardiac arrest, not chokehold
According to a report by a forensic doctor, 42-year-old Mitch Henriquez most likely died due to heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias and not a crushed larynx caused by a chokehold used on him during his arrest in The Hague nearly two years ago. The forensic doctor was called in by the lawyers of the two police officers being prosecuted for his death, NU.nl reports.
The court in The Hague decided that the trial, that was scheduled to start on April 6th, will be delayed. Instead a pro-forma hearing will be held on that date in which only the report will be discussed. The court added that if it was informed that the defendants' lawyers had launched an investigation into the cause of Henriquez' death, "the court would not have scheduled a substantive hearing before all the research was complete".
"The cause of Mr. Henriquez' death is an important point in this case. Therefore, based on the submitted report, further investigation must be done", the court said, according to NU.nl. "The pathologist and another forensic doctor must have the opportunity to give a written response to it. There is no time for that in the short time remaining until the hearing. Moreover, these doctors are not in a position to appear as an expert in the trial, which is also necessary."
Henriquez was arrested at a music festival in the Hague on June 27th, 2015. He died a day later. An autopsy on his body concluded that the most likely cause of his death was suffocation due to a crushed larynx, likely caused by the chokehold police officers used on him in the arrest. The Aruban man's death led to days of rioting in The Hague.