Community service demanded for police officer who accidentally shot a suspect
The Public Prosecution Service demanded on Tuesday a community service order of 60 hours against a police officer who accidentally shot and killed a 27-year-old man in March. This happened during an arrest in Waalwijk. The officer, a member of a police tactical team, is believed to have unintentionally pulled the trigger.
The Public Prosecution Service argued that he acted "inattentively," having his finger on the trigger against all protocols, which resulted in the shot. The officer is accused of involuntary manslaughter. For his safety, the court in Utrecht decided that the officer would remain anonymous and is referred to as XZ4007. He attended the hearing remotely via a video link.
On the evening of March 17, 2022, the 27-year-old victim was sitting in a car with his girlfriend in a parking lot in the town of Waalwijk, Brabant. The police planned to arrest the two as part of an ongoing drug investigation. There were indications that the victim could be armed. Members of the police tactical team surrounded the car, and XZ4007 attempted to open the driver's side door. Almost immediately after, a shot was fired. The victim was hit in the neck and died shortly after.
The victim's girlfriend was immediately pulled from the car and arrested. She learned only hours later that her boyfriend had died. "I am very angry about how things went," she said in her statement. "He died alone on the street. I couldn't be with him." She emphasized that she was not angry with the officer. "My anger is not directed at you. I know the shooter didn't do it on purpose. But such mistakes shouldn't be made,” she said.
XZ4007 repeatedly expressed his condolences to the deceased's family. "I'm also very upset about what happened. I would love to look you in the eyes, but due to my role, that's unfortunately not possible." He is unsure how he accidentally fired the weapon. "A terrible accident," his lawyer stated. She requested a complete acquittal. "This case has only losers."
Immediately after the fatal incident, the officer was suspended from his duties. He continues to suffer both professionally and personally. "I go to bed with it every night. I find it terrible."
The court will deliver its verdict on October 31.