Third death in police custody this month unrelated to forceful arrest, says prosecutor
Prosecutors said the death of a 42-year-old man was not connected to the use of force during his arrest. Officers used an electric shock weapon when trying to subdue the man from Rhoon, and he was bitten by a police dog. He was the third suspect known to have died in police custody in a matter of weeks.
Police responded to a report of a belligerent man on Zwaluwlaan in Rhoon on 8 September. Police claimed the man was behaving aggressively, and said they were pushed into a position where they had to use force to detain him. He was taken to a police station in Spijkenisse, but the decision was then made to transport him by ambulance to an area hospital.
"The man fell into a coma and unfortunately died," the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said. He was previously said to have been in critical condition at the hospital. He died on Friday evening, eight days after the arrest.
An autopsy performed by the Dutch forensic institute showed that there was no link between the arrest and the man falling ill at the hospital, the OM stated. "The investigation into the facts conducted by the Rijksrecherche has not yet been completed. Due to this ongoing investigation, no further statements can be made at this time." The Rijksrecherche is the independent inspectorate which handles investigations into incidents involving Dutch government offices, including the use of force by police officers.
The 42-year-old was the third suspect to die in police custody in less than a month. A 37-year-old man from Hengelo named Marcus was arrested during a traffic stop in Borne, then slipped into a coma, and died a week later on 25 August. Video appeared to show a police officer press a knee down into Marcus's chest while he was motionless on the ground. The same week that Marcus died, a 37-year-old man from Brummen died in a hospital after becoming unwell in a police car.
The Rijksrecherche is also investigating the other two arrests.
Reporting by ANP