American man imprisoned for 7 years for stabbing cops during Covid curfew check
A court convicted a 33-year-old American man for stabbing two police officers during a curfew check in Groningen on 10 March 2021. The court in Groningen sentenced Eric T. to seven years in prison for attempted manslaughter and attempted aggravated assault. He will also be sent to an additional period in a mental institution for compulsory treatment His co-defendant, 22-year-old Justin de G. from Groningen, was present during the assault, but did not intervene when T. lashed out. De G.'s role during the incident was so inconsequential that the court acquitted De G. on charges of public assault.
T.'s sentence corresponded to the recommendation from the Public Prosecution Service (OM). Prosecutors previously demanded a 117 day prison sentence against De G., equal to the time spent in pre-trial detention.
Police officers addressed the two suspects that evening because they were cycling around on the street without lights despite the curfew in force due to the coronavirus measures. The officer asked the American for his identification, and T. immediately stabbed him in the face and neck. The victim, a 47-year veteran nearing retirement, was in mortal danger for some time.
His female colleague was also stabbed in the leg. The strap from her work belt saved her from being knifed in the abdomen. At the time of the incident, she had been on the police force for 13 years, but 10 March was her first shift on the street.
T. and De G. ran away after the stabbing incident, and they left the bicycles behind. The two were located in northern France three days later.
The judge noted that T. attacked the uniformed officers in a life-threatening manner while they were doing their jobs. The American deliberately stabbed the male officer in the neck and face to disable the officer. At all costs, T. wanted to prevent his partner, De G., from being sent back to a mental health institution. The two met each other via the internet, and had been in a relationship since 2018, according to T. He referred to De G. in court as his wife, and calls her “Emma.”
During the trial, the American showed no remorse, and called his actions "honorable" because he wanted to protect De G. Both suspects did not express concern for the injured officers. The court endorsed the experts' conclusion that they should not be held fully accountable for their actions due to mental disorders.
T. will remain a danger to society without long-term treatment with forced care, the court said.
Experts testified that De G. suffers from a depressive disorder and is struggling with gender identity issues. "I hardly had time to realize what exactly happened, I thought he was talking his way out of it," De G. said about the stabbing. Both carried a knife for protection, but De G.'s was not used as a weapon that night. The suspect answered during the trial by typing on a laptop because De G. suffers from selective mutism.
The defense had recommended a full acquittal for De G.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times