Three cops won't be prosecuted for police chokehold death: court

Three of five police officers involved in an arrest which ended with the death of 42-year-old Aruban man Mitch Henriquez in 2015, will not be prosecuted, the court in The Hague ruled on Thursday. Lawyers representing Henriquez' family filed an Article 12 procedure to try and force judiciary to prosecute all five cops, AD reports.

The Public Prosecutor previously decided to only prosecute two of the five officers - one who used a chokehold on Henriquez during the arrest at a music festival in The Hague in June 2015, and one who used pepper spray on the man. They are facing charges of assault resulting in death, manslaughter or death through negligence. Two of the other three were reprimanded by their employer. The other one received no punishment.

Henriquez' family wanted all five officers to be prosecuted for the Aruban man's death. They also wanted the charge of "leaving him helpless" to be added against them. Henriquez was dragged into a police van while he was unconscious. Medical help was only later called in. Henriquez died a day later.

The court rejected the request for extra prosecution. According to the court, the three officers were not "deliberately and closely" involved in the other two officers' use of violence against Henriquez, for which the two will be prosecuted. There is also not enough evidence to prove that the three officers deliberately took insufficient action to help the unconscious Henriquez. 

The prosecution of the other two officers will continue. The trial against them was scheduled to start on April 6th, but was postponed earlier this week after a report by a forensic doctor filed on behalf of the two officers. The report stated that Henriquez likely died of cardiac arrest, not because of a chokehold used on him. Seven years ago a similar report by the same doctor in a similar case resulted in six police officers being aquitted of involvement in a detainee's death.