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Police officers under investigation for excessive violence
Four Brussels police officers are under investigation by the public prosecutor for the use of excessive violence against a man near Place Annessens on Tuesday night. The agents from the Brussels-Ixelles zone were checking whether the man was in offense of quarantine measures.
The confrontation escalated, and the police beat the man, sprayed him with pepper spray and destroyed his mobile phone. The man was later found on the street and taken to hospital. He is reportedly from Sudan and without a permanent address.
On Wednesday, the four agents were brought in for questioning in the presence of their lawyer. “They were released after questioning, but the investigation continues,” said Denis Goeman of the prosecutor’s office. “The prosecutor will take the appropriate steps depending on the outcome of the investigation.”
The police zone has also opened its own investigation into the incident and already suspended one of the officers. It’s the latest in a number of accusations by Brussels residents that police are acting aggressively in checking whether people on the street are violating the measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
On the heels of Anderlecht
On Sunday, police were also filmed acting aggressively towards a young man on Rue des Tonneliers in the Marolles. While he was in front of his own home, he was in violation of the regulation against gathering in groups.
The man had an ankle bracelet, released from prison to sit out his sentence at home. Known to police, he is serving time for assault and owning illegal weapons.
According to police, the man refused to co-operate, and then when witnesses began to get involved, they called for backup. Several police vans arrived at the scene, and it eventually took nearly 30 officers to get the situation under control.
The escalating conflicts follow the death of a teenager in Anderlecht earlier this month during a police check. He ran into a police vehicle with his scooter during a pursuit. Rallies followed in Anderlecht, leading to the arrest of some 100 people.
Photo: Eric Lalmand/BELGA