Civil society orgs file complaint against Hague police for ignoring discrimination reports

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police. (Photo: Politie)

A group of 20 civil society organizations, led by anti-discrimination action group Controle Alt Delete, filed an official complaint against the police unit Den Haag. According to the organizations, the police in The Hague have been ignoring signals and reports of discrimination within the police for years and that must change. The complaint was filed with National Police chief Erik Akerboom, and a copy was sent to Minister Ferdinand Grappenhaus of Justice and security.

"We hope that our complaint will send a strong signal. Abuses like police officers who call themselves Moroccan killers have been going on for years. Police officers who report abuses are now being relieved of their duties. The chief of police must choose a side - staying on the sidelines is no longer an option", spokesperson Dionne Abdoelhafiezkhan said in a press release. "The unit leadership speaks about rotten apples. But one rotten apple can ruin the basket. When will the police take the rotten apples out of the basket?"

The organizations list various reports on discrimination by police officers in the Den Haag unit starting with a 2013 documentary by Omroep West in which lawyers and victims told about assaults at De Heemstraat police station and a 2014 NRC report detailing assault, ethnic profiling and abuse of power by police in Schilderswijk. The last report listed is that of Fatima Abouloufa, formerly a team chief at the Leiden police, which falls under Den Haag. 

n June Abouloufa posted on Instagram about racism, discrimination, abuse of power and bullying within the police organization. She wrote that the police management ignores both whistleblowers and complaints. She was placed on forced leave late in September. Last week she as informed that she is no longer welcome at the Den Haag unit. Minister Grapperhaus of Justice and Security said that this was not because of her criticism, though he did not say why she was being transferred. 

The organizations also listed a number of deaths after a police shooting or arrest, including Mitch Henriquez in The Hague in 2015, Paul Selier in Waddinxveen last year, the 18-year-old son of a police officer in Delft last year, and a 22-year-old man in Leindschendam last month. 

The complainants accuse the Den Haag police of not only failing to protect whistleblowers, but condemning or punishing them, of not intervening in reported abuses, and for not suspending police officers while a disciplinary investigation is ongoing against them. They call on Police Chief Akerboom and Justice Minister Grapperhaus to take action. 

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