Suspect dies in hospital days after police officer placed knee on his chest
A 37-year-old man who was taken into police custody on 18 August died on Thursday after spending a week in a coma. Marcus, from Hengelo, was taken into custody during a traffic stop in the neighboring town of Borne, but fell unconscious before they arrived at a police station for questioning. He was hospitalized in critical condition following the arrest, and was taken off life support after doctors said their was practically no chance of recovery, reported RTV Oost.
He died at 3:04 p.m. "Marcus leaves behind two young children, and the rest of his family," said Richard Korver, the attorney representing his family, in a statement sent to NL Times. He added, "the family asks the media to leave them alone for now and for weeks to come as they will have to collect themselves following this very tragic event."
The man was initially detained after showing suspicious behavior while driving on Bornsche Beeklaan at about 8:15 p.m. Police said in an earlier statement that a saliva test came back positive for drugs. Officers then decided to take him in a patrol car to a police station in Hengelo about five kilometers away where a blood test could confirm or refute 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.
Days later, RTV Oost obtained video shot by someone in a car supposedly behind the police vehicle. The images show Marcus being dragged out of the car by his arms in a way suggesting his head my have struck the ground. As one officer continues pulling Marcus's arms, a second officer in a high-visibility vest grabbed the man's legs, pulled them up in the air and out of the car, flipping them over Marcus's waist.
With Marcus was motionless on the ground, flat on his back, the officer in the green vest then appeared to place a knee on Marcus's chest, pressing down hard enough that the chest appears to compress. The knee remained there for six seconds. The officer then lifted up their leg slightly before returning the knee to Marcus's chest. This lasts for at least three more seconds before the video cuts to black.
Later, the regional broadcaster reported that video footage exists showing the arrest in Borne and when Marcus became unwell. A source close to the case said that a struggle happened when Marcus resisted arrest, and that the struggle preceded the man's collapse. Korver asked anyone with knowledge about what happened to contact either the police, or his office at email@example.com.
"The family wants no stone left unturned," Korver said. “I will do everything I can to get the truth out. We are talking about a 37-year-old man, who was known to be in good health. Why in God's name did it end the way it ended here?" he told RTV Oost before Marcus died.
The arrest was under investigation by the Rijksrecherche, the independent national service that handles investigations at government services, the police department said last week. The officers involved were not placed on administrative leave or otherwise suspended immediately after the arrest, police said. The officers involved were not suspected of wrongdoing.
It was not clear if Marcus's death would change the status of the officers involved, a police spokesperson told ANP. The Public Prosecution Service said that it could take some time before the Rijksrecherche investigation will be completed.