17-year-old killed in police chase: no charges will be brought
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17-year-old killed in police chase: no charges will be brought

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The Brussels prosecutor’s office has announced it will not be bringing charges against any of the parties involved in the accidental death in August last year of a 17-year-old youth.

Mehdi Bouda was on the Mont des Arts in central Brussels just before midnight on the evening of 20 August when police intervened in what they suspected to be a drugs deal.

When police approached, Bouda ran off down Rue Ravenstein and through the Galerie Ravenstein, emerging and crossing Cantersteen against the lights. He was then hit by a police vehicle travelling to another incident. He died later of his injuries.

The incident led to a number of protests, as well as graffiti on walls in his home commune of Anderlecht. The protests culminated in a JusticepourMehdi in which 700 people took part.

The family filed a complaint of involuntary manslaughter, and an investigating magistrate was assigned to the case, the prosecutor’s office stated in a communique.

Directly outside the exit to the gallery on Cantersteen, heading to the Central Station, is a light-controlled pedestrian crossing. Bouda crossed while the light for pedestrians was red, between a van and a rubbish truck on the near carriageway. He was then struck by a police car coming in the other direction.

According to witness statements, the lights were green for the police car. Security cameras show the light was green when the police car crossed the previous junction, and the ‘black box’ in the car itself recorded that the vehicle was using its blue lights, but not its siren.

A car expert estimated the speed of the car on impact to be 95 km/h, and the victim would only have become visible at a distance of 2.5m. The expert concluded that an accident could not have been avoided even if the vehicle had been travelling at 50km/h.

As a result of all of these elements, the investigating magistrate has decided not to indict anyone in this case, which means that no serious indications have been discovered that indicate the existence of a criminal offence,” the prosecutor’s office said.

The prosecutor has as a result declined to bring charges relating to any of those involved, including the driver of the police car.

The law allows interested parties to request additional investigative acts if they believe the case file is incomplete. Such a request will be put before a court to decide. The tribunal of first instance in Brussels will make the final ruling on the prosecutor’s decision, at a date to be announced later.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times