"There is no structural problem of racism within the Belgian police force"

The head of the federal police, Mark De Mesmaeker, has responded to claims of racism within the police force. He agrees that there have been some incidents, but there is absolutely no structural problem, he told the VRT. 

There have been reports of incidents during recent demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in Belgium and the European MP Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana (greens, photo below) has launched an official complaint after an incident at the Brussels North Station. When Herzberger Fofana (who has a background in Mali) was making a video of a police intervention targeting two young blacks at the station, she was "the victim of police violence and an act of discrimination with racist tendencies" she claims. 

Police supremo De Mesmaeker has reacted for the first time. "Many think that the situation in the United States can be compared to that in Belgium. But this is completely wrong. Over the past 6 years, 8 people died because of police bullets," he added, before underlining that "there is no structural problem, though there have been individual mistakes."

He added that efforts can be made to achieve a "small cultural shift": if a police officer says something which is not okay, a colleague should take the initiative to talk about this, and to discuss the subject openly.  

Top stories