Rotterdam cops lied about violence used during arrest, judge rules
Two Rotterdam police officers deliberately lied about the violence used in an arrest when writing up their official report. They claimed that the suspect used force during his arrest on 19 June 2020, but camera footage showed it was the police who used violence, Nieuwsuur reports.
One cop headbutted suspect Atik Samur, who was later acquitted of all charges. The police report states that the officers wanted to search Samur preventively and that he then turned on the cops.
But video footage of the incident supports Samur’s version of events - that he did not turn against the police but did his best to calm things down. The video showing this was submitted by Samur. The police’s technical investigators did secure the footage after the incident but never added them to the file.
According to the press judge, it is impossible that the cop had a different experience than the video shows. “What the officer wrote simply did not happen. We call that lying,” the judge said
Press judge Jacco Boek stressed the seriousness of the case to Nieuwsuur. “It is severe. A police officer’s report is critical; someone can be convicted on that. We must be able to blindly trust what is written there. To consciously write down something that did not happen is very bad.”
The Rijksrecherche, the department that handles internal investigations at the police and other government services, will investigate.
Lawyer Najat Idrissi, who represented Samur, called it essential to get the truth. “I think it’s outrageous what happened here. What kind of country do we live in?” she said to Nieuwsuur. She wonders how many other cases this happened in and whether the cop should be allowed to remain on the force. She also questioned how her client’s camera images were not included in the criminal file. “How is it possible that camera images disappear from a file?”
The officer had already been convicted of assault for the headbutt and fined 250 euros. The Rotterdam police maintain an earlier statement, saying that the force “was aware from the outset of the difference between the experience of the colleague he wrote in the [official report], findings, and the images.” A spokesperson told Nieuwsuur that there is “no reason to assume that there is malicious intent or lying.” The Rotterdam police await the Rijksrecherche investigation.