Investigation launched into allegations of police brutality in Brussels

An investigation has been launched after video images of police officers using excess violence against a man they were trying to detain were circulated on social media. One officer has been suspended pending the results of an investigation.    

The video shows a man being held on the ground by a police officer. A second policeman gets out of a patrol car and kicks the man several times in the head. The man is then punched several times. Reinforcements arrive and the man’s shoes are taken off by one of the police officers.   

The incident happen on Monday night in the Pastorijstraat in the centre of the Brussels municipality of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. The film of the incident was taken by a local resident that wishes to remain anonymous. The film was passed on to the Francophone Brussels regional broadcaster BX1.   

In a reaction the Mayor of Molenbeek Catherine Moureaux (Francophone socialist) told the Brussels regional news platform Bruzz that “Nothing can excuse this”.  Ms Moureaux adds that the incident happened after a chase that started in the Brussel-Capital-Elsene Police Area and ended in Molenbeek.   

One officer from the Brussel-West Local Police Service has been removed from active duties pending an investigation. A spokeswoman for the Brussels West Local Police Service has said that to her knowledge no complaint has been made. However, based on the video images a crime report has been filed against the officer.

She added that "This kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable”.  

Meanwhile, the Brussels-Capital-Elsene Local Police Service says that some of its officers were present at the incident. They too have launched an investigation.   

Judicial Authorities open investigation

The Brussels Judicial Authorities have opened a preliminary investigation into Monday night’s events. Willemein Baert of the Brussels Judicial Authorities told VRT News that “A number of actions have been ordered as part of the investigation, include questioning of the police officer and the victim”.  

"On the results of this we will decide which direction the investigation will take. Up until now we have no knowledge of a complaint having been lodged by the victim”.