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Policemen cleared of assaulting whistleblower

TT/The Local · 25 Mar 2011, 15:04

Published: 25 Mar 2011 15:04 GMT+01:00

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Stockholm District Court dismissed the charges against the officers on Friday, clearing them of any wrongdoing after they ordered the blogger, Jesper Nilsson, to delete photos taken at the Hornstull metro station after he spotted the men roughing up two youths travelling without a valid ticket.

According to the indictment, the officers had threatened to report him on harassment and drugs charges if he did not remove the pictures from his mobile phone. He agreed to erase the images.

Nilsson's version of events seemed "more logical and credible" than that of the policemen, said the court, but added there was no proof of coercion since the recording had stopped at that point.

The officers also pressed Nilsson up against a wall and snatched his mobile phone from him.

In its ruling, the court argued that the violence used was of a very minor nature and had not caused injury to Nilsson. What's more, the officers immediately returned his phone.

Nilsson said he was not surprised by the outcome, but added that his video footage meant there would rarely be a clearer case for convicting officers of the law.

"This kind of verdict leads to increased (public) resignation," he told news agency TT.

He said the only way to secure a conviction would be to record an entire incident from start to finish.

"Ever second of what happens has to be filmed."

Writing on his blog after the incident, Nilsson explained how he went home and quickly began “setting up a little crime laboratory” in an attempt to restore the images.

After hooking up his smartphone to his computer, he was soon able to retrieve a raw copy of the phone’s hard disk.

“After several hours of hard work, a few cups of coffee and some swearing, I had restored my telephone’s image bank,” he wrote.

Story continues below…

Recovering the deleted video footage proved more difficult, but help was at hand. He sent the corrupted file to “some clever girls and guys” in Spain and soon received an email confirming that they had succeeded in reconstructing the three-minute movie.

The event became notorious after Nilsson uploaded the film to social media website YouTube.

A prosecutor charged the two policemen with harassment, arbitrary conduct and unlawful restraint or misconduct, as Nilsson tried to expose what he believed to be the use of undue force by the officers.

Following the incident, the policemen reported Nilsson for aggravated defamation, harassment and assaulting a police officer, but the allegations did not lead to any criminal charges against the blogger.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:40 March 25, 2011 by Frobobbles
And those two officers are now free to continue harassing people and acting like the little gansta kings of stockholm metro. How wonderful.
18:37 March 25, 2011 by Radical1
Yeah they probably soon get promotion for it.
18:58 March 25, 2011 by RobinHood
"In its ruling, the court argued that the violence used was of a very minor nature and had not caused injury to Nilsson."

Oh that's OK then. A novel justification for roughing up a member of the public, abusing a position of public trust, and then lying about it after. But if the court says it's OK to behave that way, then it's OK. If someone catches you behaving badly, fit em up on a drugs rap, knock em about a bit - but don't hurt em too bad, and we'll give you a pat on the back.

Didn't Mr Reinfeldt tell us a few weeks ago Swedish justice was fair? Doesn't sound very fair to me; more like justice in a banana republic.
22:53 March 25, 2011 by P.Sturm
What is the process for removing a judge in Sweden?
00:44 March 26, 2011 by Mxzf
The police can't do anything wrong -- is this the definition of a police state?
06:06 March 26, 2011 by DJECKY
P.sturm, thats a good question there .public protesting if you hv the guts.hahhahahaha.
07:42 March 26, 2011 by Prat
Is appeal possible? The police need to work with the public to do their jobs correctly. This case dissolves much public trust in government. Do the colleagues of these policemen support their thuggish behaviour?

09:05 March 26, 2011 by Kevin Harris
Swedish justice, like the victim, has taken a bit of a kicking recently. Prosecutors, police, and even some judges seem a rather unsavoury, unprofessional, dishonest lot. How on earth did so many dodgy rogues get jobs in an industry that is supposed to have the highest ethical and professional standards?
18:38 March 26, 2011 by zerotolerancenow
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
00:17 March 28, 2011 by mikewhite
Article correction: phones do not have hard discs. Presumably the writer meant the phone's memory card.
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