Criminal investigation against cop who shot at teen tractor driver in farmers protest
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) started a criminal investigation against a police officer who shot at a teenager on a tractor during a farmers' protest on July 5. The cop is suspected of attempted manslaughter, the OM said on Friday.
The OM's decision follows an investigation by the Rijksrecherche into whether the use of force happened in accordance with the rules for police officers. The Rijksrecherche spoke to witnesses and analyzed photos, and video footage of the shooting on the A32 onramp hear Heerenveen.
"It is clear that the police officer in question aimed at the cab of a moving tractor. The driver was a 16-year-old boy. Based on this investigation, the OM believes that this police officer wrongly aimed at the boy. There was no immediate danger to the life of the officer or that of others at the time," the OM said.
The boy in question, 16-year-old Jouke Hospes, escaped the incident unharmed but shaken. He was initially arrested for attempted manslaughter, but the case against him was dropped. Police commissioner Gery Veldhuis later said that the police officer involved was wrong in his assessment of the situation. According to Veldhuis, the officer thought the tractor was trying to hit officers at the scene, which was not the case.
The Rijksrecherche, the department that handles internal investigations at government services, also investigated two other officers who used their guns at the same protest. One fired a warning shot; the other aimed their gun at a person. The OM won't launch a criminal investigation against them.
"The prosecutor concludes that these officers also did not act in accordance with the official instructions. However, the officer sees no reason to proceed with a criminal investigation because they did not fire with aim. The police will handle this internally," the OM said.
The Rijksrecherche investigates all incidents in which police officers use their service firearms.