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Policeman detained over violent arrest in Molenbeek
A Brussels policeman has been detained and suspended from his job after a video was widely shared online of him kicking and punching a suspected burglar on a street in Molenbeek.
The violent arrest was filmed by a witness from a neighbouring house. A policeman can be seen restraining a man on the ground, who appears to be immobilised and not threatening.
A police car pulls up and another officer comes over to the suspect and kicks him twice in the face. The first police officer tells his colleague repeatedly to "calm down".
After pacing around for a few seconds, the second officer returns to the suspect and punches him in the face. Two more policemen turn up - one of whom takes off the suspect's shoes and throws them into the road.
The arrest happened at about 4.00 on Tuesday morning on Rue du Presbytère in Molenbeek, after police were alerted to a break-in at a restaurant on Quai des Péniches. Three people reportedly fled the scene on bikes.
The 19-year-old man in the video was already known to police for 63 offences including 37 thefts. The Brussels prosecutor's office said on Wednesday that he was not a suspect in the restaurant break-in.
The Brussels-West police force confirmed that an assault complaint had been filed and that the police officer had been suspended. Prosecutors will decide whether to press charges.
Local police chief Jacques Gorteman said reports of police violence were "extremely rare" - about 10 complaints per year - but added: "We condemn the officer's actions, which are quite inexplicable."
Molenbeek mayor Catherine Moureaux said on Twitter: "This arrest is unacceptably violent. Nothing can justify that. The officer involved should be summoned and punished."