Yesterday (Saturday June 27, 2015), Hague police officers beat 42 year old Arubian Mitch Henriquez to death after the “Night in the Park” Festival in Zuiderpark in The Hague, the Netherlands. In a statement, the Prosecutor’s Officer (OM) stated that Henriquez began to feel unwell on the way to the police station. However, it is apparent from video footage that he was already unconscious or in a coma before he was thrown into the police bus without receiving any medical attention.
Witnesses said that Henriquez was making jokes with friends after the festival, when a group of officers tackled him. Henriquez fell into a coma, and died today at the hospital. According to bystanders and his family, police officers used a lot of force to arrest him. According to the “official” statement from the OM, Henriquez supposedly yelled that he had a weapon and then resisted arrest, leading to the use of force. Henriquez only began to feel unwell on the way to the police station. Eyewitnesses and a newly released video tell a completely different story. Henriquez was joking around with his friends, and was warned by the police and walked further. Lila also says that he was possibly being a bit loud and boisterous, but not toward the police.
Mitch Henriquez is clearly already unconscious or in a coma before being dragged into the police bus.
A short time later, he and his friends are attacked by the police, and 4 officers jumped on his neck. It is clear from the videos that Mitch Henriquez was laying lifeless and handcuffed in the grass while agents were sitting on him. This does not fit with the story from the OM, which claims that Henriquez only began to feel unwell in the police van.
The doctors from intensive care said that Henriquez clearly did not die from natural causes. His sister Lila said in an interview: “his head was completely swollen, he was mainly beaten on his head. How could someone be handcuffed, thrown in the car and then arrive black and blue and unable to breathe?” Henriquez’s sister wonders.
The Hague police department has for years been at the center of many scandals because of (racist) police brutality. On November 24, 2012, 17 year old Rishi Chandrikasing was shot dead at Holland Spoor station as he ran away from the police. Racist police brutality is also a daily reality in the Schilderswijk and Transvaal neighborhoods in The Hague. In these neighborhoods, seemingly everybody knows somebody who has been a victim of police brutality, or even have even been victims themselves. Victims stated earlier to the local media: “I am often asked to show ID, for no reason. If I ask why, I get taken away and getting beaten up and abused in the police car. It continues at the station. They threw me into the cell and beat me while I was still handcuffed. Afterwards, they sprayed me with the fire hose and left me for the whole night soaking wet in the cell.” Even ex-officers speak of a culture of violence and racism in the police unit. These are only a few examples of the racist and violent culture of the police in The Hague, which has always been denied and covered up by police top brass and Hague mayor Jozias van Aartsen.