Police under investigation after suspect winds up in critical condition
A man arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence on Thursday was in critical condition and being artificially kept in a coma at a hospital, according to RTV Oost. The manner in which he was arrested will be examined by the Rijksrecherche, the national service that handles investigations at government services like the police, the police department said in response.
The man was taken into custody on the Bornsche Beeklaan in Borne at about 8:15 p.m. after a saliva test found that he was under the influence of drugs, police said. They intended to take him to a police facility in Hengelo five kilometers away for a blood test to confirm the result. “He became unwell during transport to the station, after which first aid was immediately given, and an ambulance was called, and the man was urgently transferred to hospital,” police said.
Video obtained by RTV Oost painted a more alarming picture of the incident. In images shot from a car behind the police vehicle, the Hengelo man can be seen being dragged from the back of the patrol car by his arms. Though the video was obstructed, it suggested the suspect landed head first on the ground. While one officer continues pulling the man’s arms, the second officer, in a green high-visibility vest, grabs the suspect’s legs and pulls them up out of the car, and over the man’s waist, so he came to rest on the ground on his back.
The officer in the green vest then appeared to place a knee on the suspect’s chest with enough force to visibly cause the chest to compress. The knee remained for six seconds, when the officer lifted up slightly, and then returned the knee back to the motionless suspect’s chest for at least three more seconds before the video cut to black. There was no audio with the video clip.
A police spokesperson would not speculate on the images shown in the video, or why an officer might hypothetical use their knee to restrain a person at the chest when they are already unable to move. "That may be a standard procedure, but that is something that the Rijksrecherche is now looking at," a spokesperson told the broadcaster.
The broadcaster did not identify how it obtained the video. It said a second video has surfaced showing five officers gathered around the unconscious man, including two others who were directly working with the suspect. One of them was seen placing their knee on the Hengelo man’s lower leg.
None of the officers involved were placed on administrative leave, or suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. Police told the broadcaster this is because they are not at the moment considered suspects of a crime.
RTV Oost said the man’s injuries are life threatening, but in a statement police would only confirm that he is in the hospital.
The broadcaster also said that the man has a Suryoye ethnic background, a region encompassing parts of southeastern Turkey, and portions of Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. A source at the Syrian Orthdox Maria Church in Hengelo said the community prayed for the man’s life on Sunday morning.