Police hid details of man’s fatal injuries

Prosecutors have decided to reopen their investigation into what caused a 24-year-old man’s death following a violent arrest in Gothenburg last April amid revelations that police investigators tried to cover up details about the man's injuries.

On Wednesday, vice prosecutor Bo Lindgren announced he planned to reopen the probe into the death of 24-year-old Johan Liljeqvist. Rather than pursue the investigation himself, however, he has elected to hand it off to colleague.

“If new information comes up, it’s not appropriate for me to look through it again considering my previous standpoint,” Lindgren told the TT news agency.

Within a day of Lindren’s decision, it was revealed that internal investigators within the police department attempted to hide the extent of the 24-year-old’s injuries from his family and journalists.

Lindgren had abandoned his preliminary investigation into the matter last summer.

Despite the fact that a forensic medical examination report showed that the violent arrest of Liljeqvist led to his death, no police officers have ever been held to account.

The 24-year-old was arrested in Gothenburg in April 2008 after kicking a car. During the arrest, he was reportedly pinned to the ground by as many as four police officers. Liljeqvist was held down with such force and for so long that he eventually stopped breathing.

When prosecutors abandoned the preliminary investigation, they distributed a copy to journalists and Liljeqvist’s family. But several lines of the medical examiner’s report had been redacted by police.

In the original report, there are passages explaining that the 24-year-old had several haemorrhages on his body as well as injuries to his ribcage from baton blows.

The medical examiner also found haemorrhaging in Liljeqvist’s eyes resulting from him being held against the ground by police.

But the police had blacked out all the information about the injuries caused by police during Liljeqvist’s arrest in the publicly released version of the report.

At the same time, however, they let stand information indicating that the 24-year-old had LSD in his blood at the time of his death.

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