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Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana: Police bring defamation case over black MEP's allegations

Pierette Herzberger-Fofana
Pierette Herzberger-Fofana Copyright AP Photos
Copyright AP Photos
By Jack Parrock
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Belgium's largest police union denies systemic racism in the country's police force, despite counterclaims by the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Police in Brussels have launched a defamation case against Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, a black MEP who accused officers of humiliating her.

Herzberger-Fofana alleges she was humiliated and abused by officers at a train station in the Belgian capital after she filmed them being abusive towards a group of black teenagers.

Police say they have video footage to prove they didn't.

"The judge now has the file. The Attorney General has made it clear that he will investigate," said Vincent Gilles, president of the SLFP police union. He added that there needs to be a clarification of "who precisely did what".

An impassioned speech by Herzberger-Fofana in the European Parliament on June 17 received a standing ovation. 

But the police are unhappy about the accusations she has made.

Herzberger-Fofana's lawyer, Alexis Deswaef, says they'll fight the defamation case.

"I'm not surprised because we see that in other files of police violence and racism by the police in files here in Brussels - especially with the police from Brussels - it's that they don't hesitate to make false statements and complete false police records with accusations against the victims," said Deswaef

The police union denies systemic racism despite repeated claims by the Black Lives Matter movement in Belgium.

Herzberger-Fofana told Euronews she spoke out in parliament for those who don't have the platform she does.

"This issue of structural racism that exists, of course, it is a personal experience, but it is the experience of many people who do not have the opportunity to express themselves and I have the opportunity to express myself," she said.

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