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Gothenburg cops cleared in bomb threat arrests

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Gothenburg cops cleared in bomb threat arrests
16:33 CEST+02:00
A preliminary investigation into the conduct of police who broke into the homes of two families in conjunction with a bomb threat against a Gothenburg shopping centre in November has been dropped.

According to news agency TT, prosecutor Björn Ericson concluded that, although the incident was unfortunate, no individual can be blamed for the events.

It was in the early hours of the morning on October 30th when a large team of police entered the home of two families in the Gothenburg area.

Young children stood in horror as their parents were forced down to the ground by a squad of screaming police officers who aimed their guns at them.

Three men and one woman taken into custody by the police.

At the station the men were told that they were had been brought in under the suspicion of preparing for terrorist crimes (förberedelse till terroristbrott).

They all denied the allegations and were released within 24 hours.

The preliminary investigation into the terror suspicions against the men was soon dropped and it wasn't long before it was the police that were under investigation.

The brutality of the police action has had a detrimental effect on the families involved. Some of the children have needed therapy to deal with memories of the incident.

But according to Ericson, the police were acting under enormous pressure trying to prevent what they believed to be a planned terrorist attack on central Gothenburg.

The problem was that they acted against the wrong people. But no one individual can be blamed for this, according to Ericson.

If the police had been on a normal time schedule for investigation they would have picked up the mistake.

The police were acting on a tip from a woman who had overheard a cellphone conversation in Arabic.

She heard a man mention the slang word that Gothenburg locals use for the shopping centre Nordstan in central Gothenburg ('femman'), and how he was going to place a bomb there.

Whether there were a hundred or more victims was of no consequence, he had said, according to TT.

After the woman was questioned, Swedish security service Säpo were called in and that night the police ordered records of all mobile traffic in the area.

This in itself is not strictly allowed, but according to the prosecutor it was a minor offence in the circumstances.

The woman who had overheard the mobile conversation thought she might be able to identify the man but somewhere wires were crossed and the investigation was aimed in the wrong direction.

It was the analyses of findings that were flawed, as well as the coordination of the analyses, according to Ericson.

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