Decorated soldier gets community service for headbutting cop, exposing himself

Marco Kroon with Queen Beatrix
Marco Kroon gets knighted by Queen Beatrix. May 29, 2009Ruud MolMinistry of Defense

Marco Kroon was sentenced on Monday by the Arnhem military court to a hundred hours of community service for accusations of headbutting a male cop, and exposing himself and wagging his genitalia at a female police officer. Kroon, a major in a Dutch Army special forces unit who was knighted by Princess Beatrix when she was the country's queen, denied that he intentionally headbutted one officer. He also said that he was urinating in public, and not waving his genitals around exposing himself.

"The military court believes that Kroon has acted disrespectfully towards the police officers because of this behavior," the court said in a statement. The court contrasted with the "respect for authority" expected from an elite military officer, respect which is "of paramount importance."

Kroon continued to deny the charges after the court's verdict was read, telling media outlets that he plans to appeal. He said he is hurt by the notion that he disappointed people who trusted him. "They still can [trust me] because I did not do this," he said to the assembled news reporters.

The incident took place during the Carnival celebrations in Den Bosch this past March. "Such aggressive behavior of the accused towards police officers who only do their work to achieve a pleasant carnival party cannot be justified in any way," the court said in its ruling.

It noted that the video evidence presented in the case from footage obtained at the scene largely backed up the police officers' claim and supported the prosecutors' arguments.

Kroon's attorney asked for an acquittal on all charges because they claimed that the police officers' stories did not match up, and a claim that the police acted disproportionately towards Kroon. In April, attorney Geert-Jan Knoops said, "He could not stop peeing, and then it escalated."

He was acquitted of insulting a police officer by extending a raised middle finger towards one of the police officers. Both the prosecutor and court agreed there was not enough evidence to convict Kroon of this. 

The court's sentence of community service matched the recommendation offered by prosecutors. Kroon also has to pay compensation of over 370 euros to the police officers in the case.

In sentencing him, the court said it took into consideration how this case has already negatively affected Kroon, in that he was suspended from military duty by his commander, and the amount of attention the case generated in the Dutch media.