Police boss: Officer who shot at tractor assessed the situation erroneously
Gery Veldhuis, the police commissioner for the Northern Netherlands district, thinks that the officer who shot a tractor in Heerenveen this week was wrong in his assessment of the situation. The police commissioner told NRC that the officer fired his service weapon because he said he thought the 16-year-old tractor driver wanted to drive into the officers present, and that he was "afraid for the safety" of his colleagues.
***𝗣𝗼𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲 𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗲𝘁 𝗼𝗽 𝘄𝗲𝗴𝗿𝗶𝗷𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗸𝗸𝗲𝗿*** 👉 En nog steeds weigeren te praten minister van der Wal... Moeten er eerst doden vallen?Posted by Agractie Nederland on Tuesday, July 5, 2022
The incident happened during a protest by farmers angered by the government’s nitrogen emissions policy at an on-ramp to the A32 highway. Police initially said that some of those demonstrating created a threatening situation by using their tractors to drive towards police officers and their vehicles.
"I think it was a wrong assessment," Veldhuis said. During the interview, he pointed out that the case against 16-year-old Jouke Hospes, who was initially suspected of attempted manslaughter, has been dropped.
"Colleagues suspected that he wanted to use his tractor as a weapon. But that turns out to be wrong." The police commissioner revealed that Jouke will get his tractor back, and that the damage to the vehicle will be compensated.
On Thursday, Veldhuis told Dagblad van het Noorden that he was not yet ready to make an assessment of the police officer’s actions. "But if the judgment is that the police response was not professional, we will report this to Jouke and his parents. Then I will have to apologize for that," said the police commissioner.
An investigation by the Rijksrecherche into the officer’s use of his gun is still ongoing. The officer has been resting at home, and was badly shaken up after the incident. The boy's family planned to file a criminal complaint against the officer, but they have since announced that they will first enter into a dialogue with authorities about what happened at the protest last week.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times