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Cop's fatal shot in Husby gets fresh review

Cop's fatal shot in Husby gets fresh review

Published: 12 Feb 2014 10:46 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Feb 2014 10:46 GMT+01:00

A new review has been conducted into the exact moments of the fatal shooting of a pensioner in Husby by police, an incident which many believe was the catalyst to the riots that plagued the Stockholm suburb for a week last year.

 
Investigative news programme Uppdrag Granskning on Sveriges Television (SVT) is set to shed new light on the Husby killing from mid-May last year, a case which has been taken on by prosecutors, dropped, then picked up again. The man's fatal shooting is believed to have been the spark that led to week long violence, protests, and destruction in Stockholm's outer suburbs.
 
A police negotiator and an officer in the SWAT team on the scene have offered new twists to the official version of events, suggesting that there was no reason to shoot the man dead.
 
"From the position I had outside the door, on the balcony, I couldn't see that there was any threat against the woman. That's my understanding," negotiator Paul Hansson told SVT.
 
The deceased man, who was 69, was brandishing a large knife on the balcony of his apartment in Husby on May 13th last year. His wife was with him at the time.
 
 
Another officer said he saw no threat from the 69-year-old, and pointed out that he seemed happy while on the balcony, at one point even hugging his wife. This information was reported to the police team. 
 
After two hours of negotiations, a SWAT team broke down the door of the man's apartment and used pepper spray to separate the man and his wife. They then let off distraction grenades, and ultimately shot the man dead.
 
The four officers who were inside the apartment have disagreed about the time the passed between the first warning shot and the fatal shot, with some claiming there were five seconds that passed and others claiming they were immediately consecutive. 
 
With the television programme set to air on Wednesday night, Stockholm police have produced a video of their own and released statements ahead of the broadcast. Tomas Koppelman Hellgren, the officer who led the operation, said that police entered the apartment fearing that the man's wife was at risk.
 
"The fact that a person died at the hands of the police is of course a great failure. But there was no possibility of leaving without doing something as I didn't know what was happening behind the drawn curtains," he said.
 
In a statement, police emphasized the shooting is a "complex case" that raises many questions.
 
"It's therefore more important than ever to be open, transparent, and accessible," the police wrote in explaining their openness to cooperating with the media.
 
The prosecutor's investigation into whether the shooting was a crime remains ongoing. 
 

TT/The Local/og (news@thelocal.se)

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