They were sentenced to three months’ imprisonment by Huddinge district court and ordered to pay compensation of 17,100 kronor each to the victim, 64 year old Åke Djerfsten.
The two officers, one a young man and the other a woman with ten years’ experience, were also found to have falsified their report of the incident. They claimed they were innocent and said they intend to appeal.
“I am surprised by the judgement and how the court came to the conclusion that it was a question of intentional assault,” said lawyer Johan Ödlund, who was defending one of the officers.
The court heard that on July 27th last year Djerfsten drove from his apartment in Norsborg to a petrol station in Botkyrka, south of Stockholm, to buy some cigarettes. After parking his car, he walked over to a police car to report a teenage gang.
When he leaned on the car’s door the police officers told him to remove his arm from their car. Djerfsten apparently refused, saying that the car was as much his as it was theirs, since he pays taxes.
A scuffle then broke out, in which Djerfsten was hit by the police up to eleven times with their batons. The whole incident was caught on tape by the petrol station’s security camera.
“Not everything which happened at the petrol station appeared on the video film,” said Johan Ödlund.
Åke Djerfsten sold Aftonbladet that he was satisfied that his side of the story had been believed by the court but felt that the penalty was not harsh enough.
“Three months feels low,” he said. “If I had been attacked by two civilians I reckon they would have got a harder punishment.”
Police in Sweden are rarely sentenced to prison for committing crimes while on duty and the two officers are likely to lose their jobs following the judgement. This consideration led the court to soften the sentence.
“They can work with whatever – but I don’t think they’re suitable as police,” said Djerfsten.