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Ombudsman backs police on pepper spray at refugee wedding

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 12 Mar 2010, 15:20

Published: 12 Mar 2010 15:20 GMT+01:00

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"That which has emerged does not give cause for any further measures or statement," the ombudsman Hans-Gunnar Axberger said in his decision.

The man's wedding on Saturday December 19th in Malmö in southern Sweden was brought to an abrupt halt as police arrested the man, a refugee from Afghanistan wanted by the police after his application for asylum was rejected.

The 24-year-old had remained on the run to avoid deportation and resisted arrest, aided by other guests at the wedding. The police officers then used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, which by then included the man's bride.

"We knew that they were going to the city hall. We had to act before they managed to perform the ceremony," Anders Kristersson of the Malmö police department told local newspaper Sydsvenskan at the time.

Story continues below…

The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) has since confirmed that preventing the wedding was unnecessary as marriage to a Swedish citizen wouldn't have any effect on the man's deportation as the decision had already been made.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:59 March 12, 2010 by sissygirl
Pepper spray is legal for police in Sweden? But citizens can't carry cans of mace to protect themselves from attackers.
18:24 March 12, 2010 by iona
Good God I always looked to Sweden as a civilized example for us Americans. What the hell is going on in your country?
19:14 March 12, 2010 by kenny8076
your kidding right? what was wrong? they went to make an arrest, all the guests tried to let the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT get away after he has already been fleeing the police. they use pepper spray to disperse the crowd and subdue the CRIMINAL. your such drama queens. if this was America you all would have gone in with a S.W.A.T. team and blamed some sort of terrorist threat........ of coarse someone would have died and we would be seeing it on CNN for a week!
20:49 March 12, 2010 by casperheghost
It is all for nothing!

If just the police where knowing what they are doing, probably they would save the reputation of their department and the Afghanistani guy. I thought that police are well prepared for this kind of situations.

And Pepper Spray???
21:38 March 12, 2010 by calebian22

Police carry guns on their hips in Sweden too, That doesn't mean a citizen can do the same. Don't be obtuse.
21:44 March 12, 2010 by Villary
@Kenny8076.. Lmao.. Nice comment... Hmmmm you said it all
09:33 March 13, 2010 by Nemesis
The police were dealing with a criminal act.

Some tried to help the criinal escape.

The police acted accordingly.
09:57 March 13, 2010 by Texrusso
This is a shame for the Swedish Police, Police duty should be carried out with high ethics, morals and responsibility. This is not afterall a criminal case. The guy is not a hard-core criminal nor posed any danger to society. He been wanted is ONLY BASED ON IMMIGRATION, evading deportation, big deal! hun! The police could have let him have his wedding day no matter what as a matter of ethics, morals and cultural norms of what a civilized police force could have represented. Shame on the SWEDISH POLICE department, using tear gas on wedding participants. For once I am begning to be disgusted about Swedish police, I always thought they were much better behaved than Finnish Police.
10:13 March 13, 2010 by McChatter
Does one have to have special talents to be a cop in Malmö? Like severe mental disorders? Great guys, the men in blue in Malmö. First they bell-end a car driven by female cops and then this. Makes you think. Mind you, with a mayor like Malmö has, it's hardly surprising. Malmö is the pits!
13:29 March 13, 2010 by saifawzy
Sweden is changing and i dont know whats coming on the way in future !!!! i wounder why!!!!!
16:08 March 13, 2010 by Pengy
Hee hee, it's no biggy, who cares about the goddamn pigs anyway? Jews and muslims don't, why should anyone else :)I bet the swien flu eminated from all the police in the world. Corrupted bastards. Go get a job :)
20:33 March 13, 2010 by linus_sverige
If it was A SWEDISH CRIMINAL wedding day and the attendents were swedish White citizens would the police act like that and with ....Pepper spray ?

Just think .
20:55 March 13, 2010 by silly t
Linus u know the answer. in sweden,what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.
23:26 March 13, 2010 by blursd
I don't see the problem with what the police did here. This person was knowingly and willingly staying in the country illegally, and was actively resisting arrest (aided by others in the country). I don't care if you're white, brown, yellow, or blue ... judge the situation by the issue, not by religion, ethnicity, etc ... It doesn't matter if it were a native ethnic Swede that were doing the same thing and the police pepper sprayed him ... I would feel the exact same way.

Being pepper sprayed does suck, but you know what ... in the grand sceam of tools available to the police it is by far the most effective and least aggressive tool available. If you resist police who are legally discharging their authority you deserve to be pepper sprayed. I mean its not like the police barged in and start billy clubbing and shooting people.

I'm sorry but I don't sympathize with the whole "Oh, how dare the police do something moderately uncomfortable to someone who was breaking the law, and actively avoiding capture."
00:35 March 14, 2010 by Texrusso
@blursd The truth shall set you free, please stop defending inefficiency. This is not a criminal case for God sake, this is an immigration case. The guy is not a danger to the public. The Swedish police acted without ethics and morals here. There has to be a way to arrest that guy on that day and nicely without creating all the scenes and mumbojumbo Shame on Swedish Police department on this one!
01:49 March 14, 2010 by blursd

I would agree there is a salient difference between a bank robber and immigration dodgers, but the fact of the matter is both are legal matters. One who lives outside of the law is acting illegally, whether it be parking illegally or stealing. There are varying degrees of illegal activity, but just because one happens to be of a lesser offense than another doesn't imbue it with any less illegality.

Immigration is governend by laws ... called "Immigration Law." Immgration is administered by the government, and as an action of government is a legal issue. By the same logic you are using if I disagreed with the licensing precedure for driving I couldn't be held accountable for driving without a license. I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way.

Police enforce all types of laws beyond criminal -- they can, and are often required, to enforce various federal and civil laws (inclusive to immigration). That means if you disobey a civil ruling the police have a right to arrest you even though the civil ruling may not have had anything to do with criminal action. By virtue of disobeying a civil order one committs a criminal act.

I'm not saying the person in question in the context of this article is a "bad" person ... chances are he is a good person, but that doesn't excuse the fact he knew he wasn't supposed to be in the country, and proactively avoided capture. That, in an of itself, shows he recognized his actions were not within the law. I'm sorry it had to hapeen during his wedding, but look at it from the view of the police. You've been trying to apprehend someone unsuccessfully, and you received credible and accurate information as to the location of said person on a specific day and time ... you're going to make an effort to apprehend him.

Whether or not one agrees with immigration policies is a completely seperate issue. The issue at question is are you in the country legally or not? Its as simple as "yes, or no." Beyond that, resisting a lawful order is itself a criminal act ... if you disobey a lawful order from a police officer you really can't blame anyone other than yourself for being pepper sprayed.
15:44 March 14, 2010 by soultraveler3
Blursed hit the nail on the head. :)
23:28 March 14, 2010 by Texrusso
@blursd: Thanks for taking your time for engaging in this discussion, I really appreciate. I am not against his arrest, but it must be done professionally without creating all the scene unless the police has other motives, pepper spraying all the guest is uncalled for. We are all still humans including the police. I don't believe there is no way the police could have secured the area nicely on that day and arrest him before or after the wedding without all the noice. Let me give you a similar case in Finland, The Finnish Police went on high speed chase with a driver who refused to stop at police signal. The high speed chase ensured even in 30km/hour(road limit) build up area in central helsinki after which ended up in loose of lives of innocent pedestrians when police play macho with law breakers.

SMART POLICE FORCE USE "INTELLIGENCE" more often, two wrongs cannot make a right and civil society must shows civility and maturity with high ethics at every level of society no matter the race or color or ethnicity or status. Have a nice day there!
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