One immigrant in four in Belgium has been a victim of police violence, according to a report drawn up by Doctors of the World, the P Committee, police chiefs from various departments and Myria (Federal Migration Centre). “If you take the 600 to 700 immigrants living near Maximilien park, that’s more than 100 incidents of police violence. This means it’s a significant trend”, says Pierre Verbeeren, the director of Doctors of the World (quoted by RTBF). “It’s psychological and physical violence: truncheon, punching, kicking. Unnecessary searches. Strip searches in humiliating circumstances. People left naked in cells with air conditioning to make them cold so they can force them into providing their finger-prints. Racist insults etc.
The Brussels Prosecutor’s office says it received around a dozen complaints about police officers between 2017 and 2018. They concern physical violence or theft. Some of these complaints were not followed up, usually because of problems finding the witnesses. Half of the cases are still open.