For the international day against police brutality, there was a fourth demonstration against police brutality involving 300 people on Sunday. It took place at 3pm at the Simonis metro in Koekelberg. It was also part of the “Stop repression” campaign by the group Organised and Combative Youths (JOC). The demonstrators reminded people that numerous international organisations, like the United Nations and the European organization for the prevention of torture, criticise the fact that the majority of police officers who step over the line are not being punished.
Magali Gillard, the spokesman for the JOC, criticises the government’s security program, including its project to reinforce the criminalisation of people who report police violence: “The government wants to charge people who falsely complain about police abusing their power. We know that 80% of complaints that go to the P committee are not followed through. We could ask ourselves if they are all considered false, and what criteria they use to decide they are false. The victims are already strongly criminalised. They are often charged with resisting arrest, and cases of violence towards officers are severely punished. It is always very difficult to prove you were a victim. You can have a doctor say you were hit, but afterwards it’s often you word against the officer’s. Very few of the rare inquiries lead to a conviction, and there are convicted officers that stay on the job”.
Mrs Gillard wants an independent body put in place. “The P committee is the police of the police. But these are officers that are coopted from different police zones for a certain amount of time”, she says.
The international day against police brutality was started in 1997 by the Collective opposed to police brutality (COPB) in Montréal, Canada.