Police probe officer's detention previously linked to racial profiling
An independent investigation into four-year-old allegations of racial profiling is set to kick off following the May 2016 arrest of an Amsterdam police officer, the police confirmed in a statement on Thursday.
The incident, which was reported in July 2016, generated attention in the Netherlands after a 29-year-old Amsterdam police officer, Anis Raiss, accused the police in Enschede of arresting him as a result of his ethnic origin because he would not identify himself. The police officers at the station allegedly told Raiss that he "does not look like a police officer" and refused to search for him in the police database to verify his status as an officer.
Raiss claimed he was told, "I'm going to do my best to prevent your kind from working with the police," according to a report in the Parool published in Feb. 2019. On Thursday, he told newspaper Tubantia that the detention would never have taken place had he looked different.
"They only saw a Moroccan. If I had walked into that office as a blond boy, none of this would have happened."
The police inspector in the case, Herbert Hoekerswever, was reprimanded in the case, with an initial review determining that Raiss was under no obligation to identify himself. In response, he demanded his own prosecution for his role in the alleged unjust detention as a way of officially determining his innocence. He was eventually cleared of wrongdoing by a separate investigation, and the police chief, Erik Akerboom, retracted the black mark on Hoeerswever record.
An appellate court ruled that the he should indeed be prosecuted. Although the case has been postponed because of Covid-19, the independent committee will nevertheless begin investigating the incident, the police said.
"This arrest has led to a long-running conflict and a painful process for both the employees involved and the organization," the police conceded in a statement.
They added that they expect the investigation to be concluded later this year.