Name of man involved in Amsterdam CS crash leaks to news site; police investigate

Police officers on the street
Police officers on the streetPhoto: Politie

On Tuesday website GeenStijl published a screenshot of the online police system showing the name and ethnicity of a driver that crashed into a group of pedestrians at Amsterdam Central Station in June. The Amsterdam police is shocked by this leak. They believe that a police officer must have sent the information to the controversial news site and promise to get to the bottom of it, the Volkskrant reports.

"This involves an integrity violation, dereliction of duty", police spokesperson Leo Dortland said to the newspaper. "We are taking this high up. Everyone must be able to assume that the police can be trusted with information." According to Dortland, finding the officer or official responsible will be easy, as the system registers who opened the suspect's profile. "All names that come up can expect a call", he said. "The issue could lead to dismissal or criminal proceedings."

The incident involved happened on June 10th. The Dutch-Moroccan driver crashed his Peugeot into into multiple pedestrians at Amsterdam Central Station. The police concluded that the 45-year-old man, who suffers from diabetes, became unwell behind the wheel and that this was not a terrorist attack. 

GeenStijl wrote that the disclosure of the man's identity is "every reason to doubt the explanation" that he became unwell. 

After the accident, theories quickly arose that this was a cover up, according to the Volkskrant. People were surprised that the police announced it was an accident an hour after it happened, but held the driver in custody. Some also wondered why the police did not say anything about the identity of the driver and found it suspicious that the cameras on Stationplein turned out not to have recorded the incident.

"Professional media know we never give names of suspects", Dortland said to the newspaper. "That is up to the press officer. And in the case of a traffic fine, we can put someone in temporary company. This was necessary to do additional (medical) investigation and to really rule out that this was not an attack." He emphasized that there was no cover up. "An attack was really excluded. This report only causes unnecessary unrest and polarization."

According to Dortland, GeenStijl publishing the driver's personal information crosses multiple ethical boundaries. "They just ruined the life of an innocent by suggesting it was an attack", he said to the Volkskrant. "You can create smoke wherever you want, but here really is no fire."

The municipality of Amsterdam is investigating whether the camera surveillance around the station needs to be improved, according to the newspaper.

In reaction to the police response, GeenStijl wrote: "If the angry arrows target the messenger, that's often a good indication that more is going on than they want to say." 


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