A train conductor alerted the police and upon their intervention to restrain, the convicted officer whipped out his firearm and dropped it on the ground, a move described as “sickening” by the court, De Standaard reports.
The officer was taken off board at Geraardsbergen station, 50 kilometres outside of Brussels, and in initial proceedings he had been given a suspended sentence.
Upon his arrest the officer admitted his fault but chalked his behaviour up to work fatigue, arguing that he worked and was “well respected” in the Matongé neighbourhood of Ixelles, home to a large Belgo-Congolese disapora.
Public prosecutors appealed his initial sentence and argued for a harsher penalty, with the court finally sentencing him to six months in jail and ordering him to pay a fine of €600.
“He performed his duties as a police officer in a particularly condescending manner and thus harmed the entire police force,” the ruling said.
“The display became even more sickening when the accused dropped his service firearm on the ground during the police intervention. The inebriated or drunken state in which the accused found himself in no way detracts from the seriousness of the racist situation he caused,” the court ruled.
It is not the first time racist incidents involving authorities are reported on the Belgian rail. Last year, a train conductor and a police officer were filmed addressing racist remarks to a Black passenger, with the police officer telling him to “go back to Congo.”