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POLICE

Cops probed for beating handicapped driver

A Swedish prosecutor has opened an investigation concerning police officers alleged to have dragged a partially handicapped man from his car, calling him an "idiot" and a "druggie", and having erased his phone of the evidence.

Mats Hansson, 44, who suffered debilitating injuries in a motorcycle crash in 2001, was on his way to the physiotherapist when he was pulled over last Tuesday by a police vehicle in central Gothenburg.

After Hansson had parked his Mercedes by the road side he was ordered to get out, later finding out that he stood accused of having run a red light.

Hansson said that he was not allowed to take his crutches, which he needs to be able to walk, and was slammed against the side of the police vehicle with his arms twisted in a lock behind his back, according to a report in the GT/Expressen daily.

Furthermore Hansson alleges that he was kneed in his leg, which has a partial prosthetic implant, causing him excruciating pain. He also claimed that on the way to the police station he was called an “idiot” and accused of being on drugs.

He furthermore had his driving licence revoked and had the contents of his mobile phone erased when he attempted to record the interaction with the officers.

The 44-year-old has denied that he drove through a red light, claiming that it was amber, and a later blood test showed no trace of drugs.

The matter has now been taken up by Per Lind at the Swedish National Police Crimes Unit (Riksenheten för polismål) after Hansson filed a report with the Gothenburg police.

While Hansson told the newspaper that he was pessimistic of the officers being disciplined, his lawyer Ann Bark argued:

“The police can not behave like this, it inspires no confidence among the public.”

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PROTESTS

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.

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