Has your country ever had a problem with police brutality? I’m from America, so it’s no surprise that my answer is yes. I don’t know why I’ve not thought about the issue being more widespread. I suppose it’s because I get stuck in my bubble.
However, after encountering the question in a popular European online forum, I wanted to share some responses to break the bubble.
In Italy, there are several documented cases. The most famous one is the event regarding the Genova G8 meeting of 2001, for which the European Courts of Human Rights condemned Italy.
An Italian suggested, “It boils down to impunity. There is no accountability for Italian police forces.” They clarified that while it happens, murdering citizens is rare. However, they noted the police act as “arrogant and entitled.” So the public understands it’s best to keep interactions sparse and brief.
Many Ukrainians confessed police brutality is an issue in Ukraine. One suggested they prolong things and then “take a few steps back” before progressing. Because of their more significant worries, the problem has been on the back burner.
A Swede shared that she had a 15-year-old autistic friend badly beaten by the police for “not complying,” an excuse given for most beatings. Nothing was done. However, they noted most police are fine. It’s the ones that aren’t held accountable that sour the bunch. Finally, they stated profiling is common.
A French person explained it exists in France, and sadly, most get off with a “slap on the wrist,” if anything. However, “people in poor neighborhoods tend to have a different experience, with frequent ID checks and less professional interactions.”
A Norwegian volunteered that police brutality exists far less than in other places. However, they noted they have a Special Unit (Politiets Spesialenhet) that investigates the claims at a 95-100% dismissal because it’s a division made up of “old coppers.” So they don’t believe it’s unbias.
Several Austrians agreed with the Norwegian about the unit being biased because it’s handled similarly in Austria. They investigate themselves. However, they noted it’s not a significant issue. It does happen.
The most prominent case (1999) is likely, a Nigerian asylum seeker, Marcus Omofuma, who died due to police brutality while being deported.
Many Germans suggested it’s not a prominent theme within the police, but brutality occurs. For example, an asylum seeker, Oury Jalloh, died in a fire in a police cell in Dessau, Germany. His hands and feet were tied to a mattress, despite the official narrative suggesting he’d taken his own life. It sparked outrage and BLM protests in 2005.
A Brit confessed the United Kingdom profiles ethnic minorities, people with mental illness, protestors, and people who go on strike have all been “bludgeoned.”
They continued to alert the thread about “an alarming amount of rapists in the metropolitan police.” Finally, they expressed gratitude that the police in mainland Britain don’t have guns. “Who wants a gun when a truncheon or taser will do the job!”
“First, it depends on your face.” One Spaniard explained that the police racially profile “even if toned down.” They also suggested the police profile attire. So if you look like a raver or a dreadlocked Rastafarian, your probability is higher of being suspected of a crime.
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10. The Netherlands
Finally, the Netherlands has had cases of police brutality resulting in deaths. One shared about an Aruban man Mitch Henriquez on holiday in the Netherlands in 2015. An altercation at a music festival led to five police officers choking him until he died.
This thread inspired this post. This article is inspired by the internet and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Savoteur.
Featured Image Credit: Deposit Photos – AlessandroBiascioli.