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Three police officers hospitalised following incident in Molenbeek
Five police officers were wounded yesterday, with three of them requiring hospitalisation, following a routine traffic stop in Molenbeek. The incident has once again led to police unions demanding that violence against officers be treated more seriously by the courts.
According to the public prosecutor, a motorist was pulled over on Chaussée de Gand, and police from the Brussels West zone discovered that his auto registration documents were not in order. He became very aggressive, trying to attack officers with a crowbar.
One officer fell to the pavement in the scuffle, hit her head and lost consciousness. She was taken to hospital with a concussion.
Officers called for back-up, and concerned passers-by stepped in to help them and to film the incident; videos are making the rounds on social media. The driver, in the meantime, fled the scene but was later apprehended. All three officers who were admitted to hospital have since been released.
Recruitment and investment
“We have been saying for years that violence against the police isn’t slowing down,” said Carlo Medo of police union NSPV. “We want to see anyone who hits injures or uses weapons against the police to be brought up on charges. It’s unacceptable that people who work on behalf of the public are attacked during a routine stop.”
Federal interior minister Annelies Verlinden told Radio 2 that she and the justice cabinet “are striving for zero tolerance” with regards to this kind of incident. “We have made violence against the police and respect for the police an absolute priority. We have joined federal police officers as plaintiffs in such cases in the past, and we are going to continue to do that.”
Verlinden said that she has spoken to the mayor of Molenbeek and asked her to do the same, as the municipality is the employer of the officers involved in yesterday’s incident. Calling joining police officers in court “one link in the chain,” Verlinden also pointed to the current recruitment process that will see 3,000 more officers join forces across the country and the decision a few months ago to increase the investment in equipment such as bodycams for both local and federal police.