Cops charged for removal of ‘cocky’ man

Two police officers are facing charges for forcing a man they claim was acting "cocky" into a police vehicle in central Stockholm and dropping him on the outskirts of town even though he had done nothing illegal.

Cops charged for removal of 'cocky' man

The charges stem from an incident in June as Ibrahim Assali, 41, was leaving an eatery in central Stockholm, when suddenly a police van pulled up behind him, the Aftonbladet newspaper reported.

The two police officers who stepped out of the van asked him a number of questions, which Assali answered with “no comment”.

Assali responded “sarcastically” when asked if he was carrying any sharp objects, telling police he had “tons”.

Even though police didn’t find anything illegal in his possession after frisking him, they forced Assali in the van and removed him from the area.

“They told me they would drive me home. One of them asked if I had a bus card. When I said I didn’t she just smiled and drove off,” Assali told the newspaper.

The officers drove Assali to the Kaknäs Tower outside of Stockholm and left him there, five kilometres from his home.

Now the two officers have been charged with deprivation of liberty with an alternative charge of professional misconduct.

“It is the way we’ve been trained,” one of the officers during questioning, adding that the radio-and-TV tower outside downtown Stockholm is generally known among police officers as a good spot to drop troublesome people.

Benny Henriksen, officer in command at the station, didn’t want to comment on the officers’ claims that they were following standard procedures, but told

Aftonbladet that they have the right to remove people from an area, and that it would be pointless to drop someone off close to the site.

Four police cadets also participated in removing the man, but won’t be reported since the other two were in charge of the operation.

Both of them, 27 and 31 years old respectively, claim their actions were appropriate and that the man was removed because he was “cocky” and that he posed a potential danger to public order.

Assali is happy to see the two officers are now being charged, however, disputing claims that he was aggressive at the time of the incident.

“That’s bullshit,” he said.

“Why would I report them if I acted as terribly as they said I did. This is abuse of power. I feel damn violated and mistreated. Had I been blond with blue eyes they wouldn’t have done this.”

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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.