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Black MEP files violence complaint against Brussels police
A black MEP has said that she was a victim of police violence by officers in Brussels, in a speech to the European parliament during a debate on anti-racism protests following the death of George Floyd.
Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, a German green MEP, said the incident outside Brussels North station on Tuesday had been "very humiliating", adding: "I feel this is a discriminatory act with underlying racist tendencies."
She told parliament that she had witnessed nine Belgian police officers "harassing" two young black men and decided to capture the incident on her mobile phone. She said four officers then "brutally pushed" her against a wall and grabbed the phone from her hands.
"They grabbed my handbag away from me, spread my legs and a police officer wanted to frisk me," added the MEP, who was born in Mali.
Herzberger-Fofana said she told the officers that she was a member of the European parliament. She showed her two passports, Belgian resident's card and EU badge.
She told RTBF: "I filed a formal complaint, not just for myself, but for everyone else who has been a victim of this kind of police violence and who might not have the strength or the courage to complain."
European parliament president David Sassoli has asked Herzberger-Fofana to provide all the details of the incident so that he could discuss the issue with the Belgian authorities.
A Brussels North police spokeswoman said: "While she had every right to film , she got involved with the incident and stopped police. When someone intervenes and interferes in an arrest, it is possible for us to carry out an identity check."
The spokeswoman added that police had drawn up a report for contempt, because of "the remarks made by the MEP and the manner in which she addressed the police".