Family files case against police for shooting at teen boy at farmers' protest
The parents of a 16-year-old boy whose tractor was hit by a police bullet at a farmers' protest in Heerenveen on Tuesday will press charges against the police officer who fired the shot. Lawyer Robern Snorn, who represents the family, confirmed that to De Gelderlander. The boy, Jouke, and the police officer will meet sometime next week, Gery Veldhuis, chief commissioner of the Regional Police Unit Noord-Nederland, said to the newspaper.
Jouke's mother told ANP that it is "logical" for the family to press charges. "My child was shot at. It's as simple as that." It's the family's choice, Snorn added to De Gelderlander. "I will support them in this and with filing the damage claim. Because Jouke was wrongly regarded as a suspect, so he wrongly spent a night in jail, and because he was shot at, I expect the compensation to be higher."
Jouke was arrested with two other people during the Heerenveen protest on Tuesday. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) has now closed the case against Jouke. The investigation into the other two, a 46-year-old man from Opsterland and a 34-year-old man from Heerenveen, is still ongoing. The OM initially accused them of attempted manslaughter for allegedly trying to run over police officers with their tractors, but the authorities later revised that. It is not clear what they are suspected of.
During the protest, the police fired both warning shots and targeted shots. The Rijksrecherche is investigating that separate from the investigation into the two suspects. The police officer who fired the shot that hit Jouke's tractor is not doing well, police commissioner Veldhuis said to De Gelderlander. He is sick at home. "He also did not want Jouke to be in such a situation that could leave him injured or worse," he said.
Jouke's lawyer Snorn considers it clear that the officers made a mistake. "They just miscalculated. There was absolutely no imminent danger or threat. There was no need to shoot. If the bullet had gone a little to the left, it could have hit Jouke. Fortunately, that didn't happen. I'm curious to know what went on in these cops' minds."