SCHIPHOL – According to the public prosecutor the officers who were involved in the arrest of Aruban Mitch Henriquez in 2015 are guilty of ill-treatment. There is no causal connection between Henriquez’ death and the police violence, the prosecutor said on Monday, adding that he will not demand punishment against the officers, identified only as DH01 and DH02. “They are guilty, but they have already been punished enough.”
Initially the assumption was that Henriquez had died due to the application of the controversial choke hold, but a new report and new statements from expert witnesses created doubt about this, the Telegraaf reported yesterday. During the trial last week the experts did not manage to agree with each other. Therefore there is no evidence for ill-treatment resulting in death, but only for ill-treatment, the prosecutor said.
The police officers are guilty of ill-treatment, but the prosecutor said that a punishment for these actions does not add anything. The officers have had to live since 2015 with criminal prosecution hanging over their heads and they also had to deal with threats and sentencing in the media.
Henriquez’ ex-girlfriend reacted disappointed: “They have been looking for a scandalous excuse. I hope that the judges will impose a sentence.”
Earlier the prosecutor said that the officers incorrectly applied the choke hold on Henriquez. Because the 42-year old Aruban did not resist arrest violently, the risky choke hold was disproportional. “There was no reason to use this kind of violence,” the prosecutor said. “Officer DH01 who used the choke hold has underestimated the risk.”
The prosecutor totally disagrees with the police officer that the choke hold is allowed to be used during any arrest whereby someone offers resistance.
The violence used by the second officer, group commander DH02 was also unlawful. “He should not have hit Henriquez in his face and he should not have used pepper spray.”
Henriquez died a day after he was arrested at the Parkpop music festival in The Hague at the end of June 2015. He shouted several times at the police officers that he was armed and he pointed to his crotch. Five police officers were involved in the arrest. They used a lot of violence, amongst others the controversial choke hold.
Two of the five officers are prosecuted. They are identified only as DH01 and DH02 because their families were seriously threatened after the arrest.
The court pronounces the verdicts on December 21.