Teen threatened after police mistakenly names him suspect


A teenager from Tilburg is facing threats after the police mistakenly showed a photo of him as a suspect in the assault of a 73-year-old man on television program Bureau Brabant on Monday. The boy's family is considering filing a damage claim and pressing charges of slander and libel, the family confirmed to Brabants Dagblad.

The photo was shown on the television program and spread on social media. On Tuesday the police released a statement acknowledging that the wrong photo was used and that the boy had nothing to do with the assault. The police removed the photo from the police sites and social media and apologized to the family. 

But the damage has already been done. The boy and his parents were flooded with negative reactions and even death threats. "Yes that is my son. And no, it wasn't him", the boy's mother wrote on Facebook, according to the newspaper. "We did not deserve this. The person who spread this nonsense and made the photo will legally pay."

The boy's cousin told Omroep Brabant that this incident took its toll on the teenager. "He was portrayed as a torturer, someone who severely assaulted a 73-year-old man. He no longer dares to cross the street", the cousin said. "We were very shocked when we saw the images. The whole family is completely exhausted."

The police have since had several conversations with the boy and his family. "We experienced these as very positive. We have taken note of the messages circulating on social media, but we are not yet aware of concrete pans that legal steps will be taken", a police spokesperson said to Brabants Dagblad. The spokesperson refused to respond to the question of whether the police would understand a damage claim.