During a festival, in The Hague, the Netherlands, the unarmed Mitch Henriquez was arrested for jokingly saying that he had a weapon between his legs. He later died due to asphyxiation.
In the U.S., Texas authorities released several hours of footage, reported Yahoo on Wednesday, wherein you see the deceased Sandra Bland entering the jail, going threw intake, taking mug shots, entering and leaving a jail cell and making phone calls. On Tuesday, CNN reported that Waller County Judge Trey Duhon stated that the footage was released to clear up any conspiracy theories surrounding her untimely death, which has been ruled a suicide. For example, photos have been circulating on social media stating that Bland was already dead when her mug shot was taken.
A few weeks ago, in a similar situation of a arrestee dying in police custody, a photo was circulating on Facebook that claimed to be of a Dutch police officer responsible for the death of the Aruban Mitch Henriquez. The 42-year-old was arrested after attending a festival in The Hague, the Netherlands. The arresting officers and witnesses have stated that Henriquez said that he had a weapon. While grabbing his crotch witnesses state that Henriquez said: “I have a weapon, right here in my pants.”
Witnesses and family explain that an officer then hit Henriquez in the head with their baton. After which, 5 officers subdued him by holding him down on the ground. One officer placed him in the choke hold. The initial autopsy report showed that Henriquez had died due to asphyxiation. In video footage, you see 5 officers subduing him, with one of them placing him in the chokehold. During a press conference the The Hague head prosecution chief, Kitty Nooy, stated that “He was apprehended because he stated multiple times that he had a weapon. During his arrest, the police used violence because he was resisting.” In video footage, you also see an officer who states: “You shouldn’t make jokes about having a firearm,” which could be implying that they knew during his arrest that he was unarmed.
After announcing the findings of the autopsy report, officials explained that the 5 officers are now seen as suspects. “The report concludes that the victims cause of death was due to a shortage of oxygen. This was caused by the way that the police handled the situation, there is no other explanation. The 5 officers who were involved, during the apprehension and arrest of the victim, are now seen as suspects in regards to the death of Mr. Henriquez,” said The Hague Head Prosecution Chief Kitty Nooy.
Due to the involvement of government officials the homicide investigation has been turned over to the Dutch National Police Internal Investigation Department. The internal investigation website states that an investigation of a government official, who is suspected of being involved in a violent confrontation resulting in serious bodily injury or death, approximately lasts 6 weeks. The press secretary of the The Hague prosecution office stated that the investigation is going to take months.
Henriquez’s Family Members Optimistic
Sandro (Alex) Dijkhof, is the cousin of the recently deceased Henriquez. Dijkhof was at the festival with Henriquez. He did not witness what lead to Henriquez’s arrest but he did witness how police subdued and choked his cousin. Dijkhof does not believe that the arrest of his cousin had anything to do with racism and trusts that the investigation is unbiased.
“There are a lot of witnesses that need to be questioned, that haven’t been heard yet because they are on vacation. The prosecution office is keeping me updated. I don’t know what investigation you have experienced, but this is a big case that needs to be fully investigated. So its going to take some time. I can assure you that everything will be finished within a year, with a judgement from a judge. Normally these types of investigations take even longer. We [the family] are happy with how things are going,” stated Dijkhof, on Tuesday.
There are a number of cases, in the Netherlands, where Dutch police officers where involved in homicides. Rishi Chandrikasing, Michael Koomen, Ihsan Gürz, Rinus Wolters and Wensly Udenhout all died due to police violence. Officers were either not prosecuted or found not guilty.