Don't jump to conclusions, Justice Min. says about video of Hague cop kicking detainee
Caretaker Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus called on people not to jump to conclusions "because someone posted a video on the internet." He referred to a video circulating on social media since Monday, in which a police officer in The Hague appears to be kicking a detainee who is lying on the ground. "I do not mean that something couldn't have happened somewhere, but do not form a judgment," Grapperhaus said on Monday afternoon.
Politiegeweld gisteren in Den Haag‼️— 🌸Simone Juffermans (@SimoneSays123) November 1, 2021
Ze schoppen en slaan iemand die weerloos op de grond ligt 😳. pic.twitter.com/OBACiq4IkA
The police in The Hague announced on Monday morning that they would investigate the video. During this investigation, the officer in question will be given desk duty so that he is not on the street, a police spokeswoman said. "We are familiar with the footage and are investigating what occurred, including before the arrest."
The video shows a police officer with a baton walking towards the detainee lying on the ground and making a kicking movement under the watchful eye of another officer. After that, both officers seem to use their batons against the detainee. Grapperhaus emphasized that he would await the investigation results, that he supports the police, and that the police and the judiciary take complaints seriously.
The incident raised questions among other politicians in The Hague. Parliamentarian Wybren van Haga of the Van Haga Groep wants to know more about the circumstances. He wonders "why so much explosive violence was used and why there was so much swearing." Gideon van Meijeren of Forum voor Democratie spoke of "the umpteenth incident in a long series of excessive police violence against defenseless coronavirus protesters" and of a police state. Van Haga also called the violence "excessive."
The footage is from Sunday afternoon at the Joubertplantsoen in The Hague. Several people were detained there "after officers were confronted with excessive violence by a group of more than 50 people," the police said. The officers were beaten, kicked, and pelted with illegal fireworks. The confrontation with the group started around 1:30 p.m. on the Paul Krugerplein and moved to the park. Several people are said to have carried bats and dangerous fireworks and wore face-covering clothing.
"It was so intense that many colleagues really feared for their safety," said police chief Paul van Musscher of The Hague. "I understand very well that people are shocked when they see these images. What can be seen and heard in the images is, of course, not what we expect from officers. But here, too, I want to first have all the facts and circumstances in a row because the images also do not show everything. That is why I commissioned an investigation. Only then can I make a judgment," said Van Musscher. A total of nine people were arrested for public violence. Most of them are from outside The Hague.
According to Omroep West, the incident happened around a demonstration against the coronavirus policy. According to RTL Nieuws, it was organized by the "4th of July movement." Although it is unclear whether the detainee in the video was part of the demonstration, the movement wrote on its Facebook page that it would "start a criminal case against these criminals."
Reporting by ANP