Federal police Director-General temporarily resigns over fatal Charleroi arrest
Thursday, 20 August 2020
The second-in-command of Belgium’s federal police has announced his temporary resignation following the surfacing of footage of an arrest in Charleroi in 2018, which saw a man pass away as an officer made a Hitler salute.
The decision came following a crisis meeting between federal police top figures, HLN reports. André Desenfants held the position of director-general, one step below commissary-general Mark Demesmaeker. His tasks included leading international police cooperation and overseeing the airport police.
On Wednesday, Minister of Home Affairs Pieter De Crem had asked the federal police to take swift action.
Desenfants was appointed director-general in 2017. At the time of the Charleroi incident in 2018, he served as the right hand of commissary-general Catherine De Bolle. De Bolle left the force for Europol in 2018. The responsibility for the police action then befell Desenfants, as he was the only one active in a high position of power over the entire course of the Charleroi investigation.
The following day, Chovanec was transported to a hospital, where he passed away.
Two and a half years on, the judicial investigation into his death has not presented its conclusions yet. On Wednesday, it was announced that the female officer bringing the Hitler salute will be disciplined. Chovanec’s family fears the case will be covered up and buried.