Man jailed for threats to pimping trial prosecutor

A 36-year-old man was sentenced to four months in prison for threatening a prosecutor who had charged his son for involvement in selling a mentally handicapped 14-year-old girl for sex.

Man jailed for threats to pimping trial prosecutor
Ulrika Rogland speaks about the pimping case in July 2010

Upon learning that his 18-year-old son had been charged in connection with the case, the 36-year-old called prosecutor Ulrika Rogland and threatened her life and that of her son, the Aftonbladet newspaper reported.

The man was convicted of threatening a civil servant for the call he placed to Rogland, who told the court the event “has affected my life ever since”.

An 18-year-old woman who was the girlfriend of the man’s son was convicted of insulting a police officer for telling an investigator, “There’s a devil inside you. I’m going to fuck with everything. You’ll see.”

She was fined the equivalent of 75 days’ pay.

Rogland and the officer were investigating a high-profile pimping case stemming from allegations that a 14-year-old girl was sexually abused and raped by several different men after she ran away from a foster home near Malmö last March.

Although she was 14, she reportedly had the mental capacity of a girl several years younger.

The 36-year-old’s son was one of 10 people charged in the case, which drew nationwide media attention.

In its ruling, the district court stated that the man repeatedly contacted both the prosecutor and the police officer in connection with a decision to have his son remanded in custody.

It was obvious that what was said to Rogland was a threat stemming from the actions she took in her connection with her duties as a prosecutor, the court said.

The statements were obviously meant to make her fear for her safety, and the measured enacted to protect her also show that the threat was serious.

Thus, it must have been clear to the 36-year-old that his statements would be interpreted as a threat, the court said in its ruling.

The court also found that the threat against the investigating police officer was verified. In a telephone call to the officer, the 36-year-old said, “God will punish you and your children,” a statement which was overheard by the man’s colleague when the call was put on speakerphone.

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US criminologist lauds Malmö for anti-gang success

The US criminologist behind the anti-gang strategy designed to reduce the number of shootings and explosions in Malmö has credited the city and its police for the "utterly pragmatic, very professional, very focused" way they have put his ideas into practice.

US criminologist lauds Malmö for anti-gang success
Johan Nilsson/TT

In an online seminar with Malmö mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, David Kennedy, a professor at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said implementing his Group Violence Intervention (GVI) strategy had gone extremely smoothly in the city.

“What really stands out about the Malmö experience is contrary to most of the places we work,” he said. “They made their own assessment of their situation on the ground, they looked at the intervention logic, they decided it made sense, and then, in a very rapid, focused and business-like fashion, they figured out how to do the work.”

He said that this contrasted with police and other authorities in most cities who attempt to implement the strategy, who tend to end up “dragging their feet”, “having huge amounts of political infighting”, and coming up with reasons why their city is too different from other cities where the strategy has been a success.

Malmö’s Sluta Skjut (Stop Shooting) pilot scheme was extended to a three-year programme this January, after its launch in 2018 coincided with a reduction in the number of shootings and explosions in the city.

“We think it’s a good medicine for Malmö for breaking the negative trend that we had,” Malmö police chief Stefan Sintéus said, pointing to the fall from 65 shootings in 2017 to 20 in 2020, and in explosions from 62 in 2017 to 17 in 2020.

A graph from Malmö police showing the reduction in the number of shootings from 2017 to 2020. Graph: Malmö Police
A graph from Malmö police showing the reduction in the number of explosions in the city between 2017 and 2020. Graph: Malmö Police


In their second evaluation of the programme, published last month, Anna-Karin Ivert, Caroline Mellgren, and Karin Svanberg, three criminologists from Malmö University, reported that violent crime had declined significantly since the program came into force, and said that it was possible that the Sluta Skjut program was partly responsible, although it was difficult to judge exactly to what extent. 

The number of shootings had already started to decline before the scheme was launched, and in November 2019, Sweden’s national police launched Operation Rimfrost, a six-month crackdown on gang crime, which saw Malmö police reinforced by officers from across Sweden.

But Kennedy said he had “very little sympathy” for criminologists critical of the police’s decision to launch such a massive operation at the same time as Sluta Skjut, making it near impossible to evaluate the programme.

“Evaluation is there to improve public policy, public policy is not there to provide the basis for for sophisticated evaluation methodology,” he argued.

“When people with jobs to do, feel that they need to do things in the name of public safety, they should follow their professional, legal and moral judgement. Not doing something to save lives, because it’s going to create evaluation issues, I think, is simply privileging social science in a way that it doesn’t deserve.”

US criminologist David Kennedy partaking in the meeting. Photo: Richard Orange

Sluta Skjut has been based around so-called ‘call-ins’, in which known gang members on probation are asked to attend meetings, where law enforcement officials warn them that if shootings and explosions continue, they and the groups around them will be subject to intense focus from police.

At the same time, social workers and other actors in civil society offer help in leaving gang life.

Of the 250-300 young men who have been involved in the project, about 40 have been sent to prison, while 49 have joined Malmö’s ‘defector’ programme, which helps individuals leave gangs.

Kennedy warned not to focus too much on the number of those involved in the scheme who start to work with social services on leaving gang life.

“What we find in in practice is that most of the impact of this approach doesn’t come either because people go to prison or because they take services and leave gang life,” he said.

“Most of the impact comes from people simply putting their guns down and no longer being violent.”

“We think of the options as continuing to be extremely dangerous, or completely turning one’s life around. That’s not realistic in practice. Most of us don’t change that dramatically ever in our lives.”

He stressed the importance of informal social control in his method, reaching those who gang members love and respect, and encouraging them to put pressure on gang members to abstain from gun violence.

“We all care more about our mothers than we care about the police, and it turns out that if you can find the guy that this very high risk, very dangerous person respects – literally, you know, little old ladies will go up to him and get his attention and tell him to behave himself. And he will.”