Man to file complaint against hard-handed coronavirus check by police

Man to file complaint against hard-handed coronavirus check by police
The man said police used disproportionate force during a coronavirus check outside his home in Brussels. Credit: Instagram

A 29-year-old Brussels resident will file a complaint for disproportionate use of force by police after he was arrested during a coronavirus check last week.

The man, identified as Kezy Mampassi, said that he would address a complaint to police oversight body Committee P against officers with the Brussels-Ixelles police zone.

He was arrested last week in the Marolles neighbourhood of Brussels during a check started by officers who said Mampassi, who is under house arrest with ankle bracelet, was violating lockdown regulations.

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The check reportedly took place outside Mampassi's apartment building, where officers approached him while he was smoking a cigarette with other people.

Speaking in an interview with La Dernière Heure, Mampassi said police officers started rough-handling him after he refused to hand over his identity papers when they approached him.

"I didn't want to give my ID, because I had done nothing wrong," he said, according to Bruzz, adding: "It is not because I have a criminal record that police can hit me just like that."

In videos of the intervention posted online, two police officers can be seen holding Mampassi to the ground as two others push back bystanders.

Another video shows throngs of police officers showing up for back up in vans, bike and by foot, as well as officers with police dogs approaching the scene.

In a statement to L'Avenir, a police spokesperson said police officers called for backup because the man "rebelled" and refused to hand over his identity papers.

"It became immediately necessary to call for backup due to the growing hostility shown towards the police officers at the scene," spokesperson Ilse Van de Keere said.

Mampassi said he tried to respond when he got hit but that four officers then "dealt him blows" and "pulled out nine dreadlocks," which appear to be lying on the ground in the footage posted on Instagram.

The arrest comes as a separate police zone in Brussels faces an involuntary manslaughter investigation after launching a coronavirus check that culminated with the death of a 19-year-old in Anderlecht.

After the intervention, Mampassi spent to days in the prison of Saint-Gilles, and two police officers have since reportedly apologised to his family.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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