The 23-year-old black man died on Saturday in murky circumstances, after being uneasy in a Brussels police station. He had filmed an arrest before being pursued by the police.
Ibrahima B., 23, died at 8:22 p.m. on Saturday. A heart attack, according to information sent to his family, which took place at the police station on rue de Brabant in Saint-Josse, in the north of Brussels, less than an hour after the young man’s arrest. Around 7 p.m., while passing through the Brussels-North station district, Ibrahima would have stopped to film the police who were intervening around a small gathering contrary to health rules, according to Sudinfo who revealed the case. Police then reportedly approached him to control him and prevent him from filming. The young man then allegedly fled before being caught and taken to the police station.
“We told the family that the autopsy revealed a heart defect and that he had a heart attack, but we also learned that there was written in the autopsy report that the heart defect cannot be not alone explain the cause of death, explained Me Deswaef, the family lawyer. He ran to get out of control, but he was a good football player. ”
At the police station, Ibrahima B. would have felt bad in the search room, before sitting down and fainting. According to Mr. Deswaef, the police left the young black man, born in Guinea and naturalized Belgian, on the ground for five to seven minutes without providing assistance, while he was still handcuffed. According to other information provided to Committee P, the Belgian equivalent of the IGNP which was seized, the defibrillator used by the police to resuscitate him would not have worked. Ibrahima was in any case then transferred by ambulance to the Clinique Saint-Jean, where he died.
Video: Brussels: violent clashes during the demonstration for Ibrahima, who died after a police check (Dailymotion)
If the circumstances of the death and the arrest of the young unemployed electrician remain obscure, several elements have reopened the file of police violence and institutional racism. Ibrahima’s parents were not notified until 2:30 a.m., six hours after their son died. They were first told that he had been arrested for violating the curfew (which runs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in Brussels), before they learned the time of death. Police sources cited by several media then spread the rumor that Ibrahima was drugged when he was arrested. According to the first toxicological examinations available to the family, there is nothing to support this thesis.
“I don’t think that would have happened to my son, seconded Me Deswaef. There is a problem of structural racism in the police, with mechanisms that mean that an Ibrahima will not be treated in the same way as a Cedric from the upper quarters. ” Ibrahima’s body had bruises, but these can be the result of attempts at resuscitation. The Brussels public prosecutor’s office announced yesterday that an investigating judge had been appointed to conduct an investigation “For manslaughter” in order to clarify the circumstances of the young man’s death. Committee P analyzes the video surveillance images of the police station and the esplanade of Brussels-North station, where the arrest took place.
Several precedents this year
None of this was enough to calm the anger of the 500 demonstrators who gathered on Wednesday in front of the police station on rue de Brabant, before clashes with the police broke out, which left 5 injured and resulted in 116 arrests. The memory of abuse and violence recently perpetrated by the Belgian police remains vivid. In June, while the whole world was shaken by the death of George Floyd, the environmental MEP Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, 71 years old, had been questioned unceremoniously because she was filming the arrest of two black men near the Brussels-North station. “I said I was a member of the European Parliament, but they didn’t believe me. While they had in hand the parliamentary pass and my German passport, they asked me for my Belgian residence card ”, explained at the time the chosen one, also black.
During the clashes with the police in front of the police station rue de Brabant, in Brussels, Wednesday evening. Photos Marin Driguez
More seriously, in July, Akram, a 29-year-old man of Algerian origin, also died in murky circumstances after a brutal arrest in Antwerp. His death follows that of young Adil (19), killed in April in a collision with a police car. He had just fled to escape control in his neighborhood. At the end of November, the Belgian prosecution requested a dismissal “For lack of sufficient charges against the protagonists of the case”.