‘Get the macaques’: investigation into a biting incident with a police dog in Ghent


View the footage of the incident

Actor Idries Bensbaho (23) passed by Saturday evening at Van Beverenplein in Ghent while the police arrested two people. Bensbaho decided to film the intervention ‘in the sign of citizen journalism’, after which tempers heated up. “I was completely cooperative and I never resisted a single moment,” he writes on social media. “A K9 (a police dog, MIM) was unleashed on me and some others, resulting in serious injuries. ” Bensbaho was outside the security perimeter of the police.

Bensbaho is said to have been bitten on a sensitive place and in his leg, in addition, a boy of 17 was also bitten in the buttocks. Bensbaho was subsequently arrested administratively, his smartphone was seized. He also says he has been blackmailed on the desk: a PV or removing the images. He was not released until a few hours after the arrest, around three in the morning.

Images of the incident have been circulating on social media since Monday. Activist Yassine Boubout, who is in contact with the young people, analyzed the images and shared a short excerpt today. Then someone says clearly, “Get the macaques.” It looks very much like an agent from the dog brigade is speaking the words.

‘We take this seriously’

The Ghent police confirms in a written response that it is aware of several films. “We take this very seriously and an extensive investigation has started.” The public prosecutor’s office deals with the biting incident, even before the young people themselves officially file a complaint. That would happen later. “As far as the words are concerned, we strongly condemn them and we check whether they were spoken by a police officer or by a bystander”, it continues.

If it concerns a police officer, according to Boubout it can be seen as a hate crime and dismissal is in order. “It is already a good signal that these words are strongly condemned, both to the outside world and to the police force. But for the time being I don’t read anything about an internal disciplinary procedure, nor about the way in which the police acted. The violence used was clearly excessive. ”

Partly due to the Black Lives Matter movements, citizens seem to be filming police interventions more and more often. “Ethnic profiling is of course not new, but it is more visible because of this,” says Boubout. “Some police forces are clearly unable to deal with that. As long as you do not hinder an intervention, filming is nevertheless a right. That must be recognized. ”

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