/  08.20.2020


A request for a new judge has been made in the case of a Slovakian man’s death at the hands of Belgian police.

In 2018, Jozef Chovanec was arrested at the Charleroi airport in Belgium after causing disruption on a flight. When placed in a cell, he banged his head on a wall repeatedly until it bled, causing officers to confine him.

Images and a video clip have surfaced of the encounter which shows an officer sitting on Chovanec’s rib cage for 16 minutes, while surrounding cops laughed. One of the officers appeared to make a Nazi salute, making a mustache with her finger in an impersonation of Hitler.

Chovanec was taken to a hospital but fell into a coma and died the following day. He was not under the influence, according to an autopsy report, but it’s unclear what caused his erratic behavior.

When the news of George Floyd’s death made headlines worldwide, Chovanec’s wife Henrietta was reminded of her husband. She has called for a new judge in the unsolved case, which has been ongoing for nearly two years, expressing her beliefs that “they’re trying to cover it up.” 

“Something seemed to be going on with my husband – he wasn’t feeling well,” she told Het Laatse Niews. “But the police ignored my husband all night. When they saw the blood, they should have given him first aid. Instead, they sat on him. He couldn’t breathe properly.”

“[After seeing] the videos of the arrest of the American George Floyd, I immediately thought, ‘My husband died the same way,’ only the police also flat-out laughed at my husband and a policewoman next to him did a Hitler salute,” she continued. “I want to know what happened and why [the police] behaved that way.”

Paul Magnette, mayor of Charleroi took to Twitter to respond to the disturbing images. “I, like many, am shocked by the images in the media. Such behaviour is unacceptable,” he tweeted. “As for the Federal Police under the authority of the Minister of the Interior, I ask the latter to shed full light on this behaviour.”

A spokesperson for the Charleroi public prosecutors has since confirmed the officers in the video have been interrogated. As for the cop making the Nazi gesture, a police spokesperson will be dismissed today (Aug.20), according to Belgian website Sudinfo. 

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