Fatal arrest at Charleroi Airport: Policeman makes Hitler salute as colleagues laugh

Fatal arrest at Charleroi Airport: Policeman makes Hitler salute as colleagues laugh

The wife of a man who died after a police intervention at Charleroi airport in February 2018 is demanding a new investigative judge as images of the intervention surface.

The man had caused trouble when boarding a flight and was subsequently put in a cell. He died a few days later, following a cardiac arrest after officers got heavy-handed when he started behaving strangely.

He had started beating his head against the wall of the cell to the point of bleeding, after which officers tried to restrain him. They put a blanket over his head and one officer sat on him for 16 minutes.

“At the videos of the arrest of the American George Floyd, I immediately thought: my husband died the same way,” his widow said in Het Laatste Nieuws. "Only the police also flat-out laughed at my husband and a policewoman next to him did a Hitler salute."

“I want to know what happened and why they behaved that way,” the man’s wife said.

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"Something seemed to be going on with my husband, he wasn't feeling well,” she said, “but the police ignored my husband all night. When they saw the blood, they should have given him first aid. Instead, they sat on him with so many people. He couldn't breathe properly. Everything went wrong here, from beginning to end."

After an investigation into the man’s exact cause of death has been dragging on for over two years, the wife wants to have a different investigative judge put on the case, as “she feels like they're trying to cover it up,” according to her lawyer.

"The family's next of kin have already twice asked for additional inquiries, concerning the interrogation of several people and medical expertise," a spokesperson for the Charleroi public prosecutor's office said. "Due to the crisis surrounding Covid-19, there has been a delay. All police officers involved in the intervention have now been heard."

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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