The European Network of People of African Descent stands in solidarity with the protesters in the Hague, who are denouncing the death of Mitch Henriquez committed by the police.
Amsterdam, July 1st, 2015: Mitch Henriquez became a victim of police brutality in the Netherlands on 28th June 2015. After he visited a concert in the Hague, he was brutally arrested and died by hands of police.The authorities lied about the cause of his death, which led to major outrage in different communities in the Netherlands, which are often harassed by police.
Mitch Henriquez from Aruba was visiting his children in the Netherlands, and decided to visit the festival Night at the Park, in the Haagse Zuiderpark on 27th June 2015 with his family. According to the prosecutor the man was arrested after he allegedly said that he had a weapon. The man resisted arrest and police therefore used violence against the man to transfer him to the police station. On their way to the police station he lost consciousness. The agents started CPR and an ambulance brought the man to the hospital in very critical condition, stated the prosecutor.
Videos show a different side of the story. Henriquez lost consciousness during the arrest and not afterwards. The state lied and did not correct the information until activists and individuals denounced the false statements via social media and started to share the videos to show the contradiction in the prosecutor’s statement. According to the prosecutor, Mitch Henriquez died in the hospital on 28th June. A picture of him in the hospital indicates that he was beaten severely by the police.
Black communities and communities of Color are outraged by the fact that the police tried to disguise the actual events that have not been made transparent until this moment. Jessica de Abreu, board member of the European Network for People of African Descent and board member of the New Urban Collective, highlights: “Racial profiling and police brutality are realities of Black people and People of Color in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. We call for a thorough investigation of these cases. Our communities know that they are not guaranteed the same protection under the state institutions, this needs to change.”
There are multiple cases of police violence such as the one of Rishi Chandrikasing, who was shot by the police, at The Hague train station. He ran away from police and he was unarmed. Schilderswijk is a well known neighborhood in the Hague, where marginalised groups become victim of police harassment, violence, brutality and racial profiling. Police brutality is an issue in the Netherlands that is silenced; the country hides behind its liberal and tolerant image of multiculturalism.
Update July 2nd:based on the autopsy it has been confirmed that Mitch Henriquez has died due to police violence.
Watch video footage of Stop Blackface:
Watch a video report of the demonstration