Brussels police accused of assault during coronavirus check

Brussels police accused of assault during coronavirus check
Credit: Belga

A Brussels woman has said she felt "assaulted" by the police during a coronavirus check and said she intends to file a complaint following the incident.

The woman was "aggressively pushed" into a facade by officers from the Bruxelles-Capitale Ixelles police zone after refusing to give her identity card and telling them she had done nothing wrong, she said in a testimonial reported by Bruzz.

"In corona times, that physical aggression feels like an assault," she said. The woman said that she had "started panicking" about contracting coronavirus after having made "extreme efforts" in the last weeks to abide by social distancing rules.

According to her report of the incident, the woman initially tried to calm officers down after she saw them calling a man "imbecile" and shouting at a man who had stopped to watch on the other side of the street. As a result, the officers "went completely crazy," according to the woman. "They shouted that I didn't know anything about what they were going through every day. I answered that that was still no reason to swear at the whole neighbourhood so aggressively," she said.

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An eyewitness confirmed the incident. "The cops started yelling at her, and I wanted to go downstairs and help. By the time I got downstairs, the woman had already been pushed against a wall. My wife and bystanders filmed the incident. It's really embarrassing to see the police acting like this," he said.

The police confirmed the incident as well. "It happened during a routine check on compliance with the corona measures," said Ilse Van de Keere, spokesperson for the Brussels-Capital police. "The woman in question had remarks about the check. When her identity card was requested, she did not want to give it away. We stopped her temporarily so that we could look at her identity card. A report was also drawn up."

The woman has written to Brussels mayor Philippe Close and to the police zone of Brussels Capital - Ixelles. If she does not get a reply, she will file a complaint with Comité P, an external body that monitors the police.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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