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Police under investigation for use of excessive force

Amateur video footage showed police officers repeatedly beating the man

(swissinfo.ch)

Officers belonging to an elite police unit in Bern are under investigation over allegations that they used excessive force to subdue a Turkish man, who later died of his injuries. Amateur video footage showed officers repeatedly beating the man.

The video, which was broadcast by a local television station "TeleBärn" on Sunday, brought back memories of the beating of a black man called Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers in March 1991.

The footage, shot by an amateur last Tuesday, showed a group of police officers surround a man on a balcony of a flat in Bern, before repeatedly beating him with what appeared to be truncheons.

The man, a Turkish immigrant, died from his injuries in hospital on Saturday.

A police spokesman, Jürg Mosimann, told the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation that an inquiry was underway and would seek to ascertain whether the police used excessive force in subduing the man.

The incident occurred last Tuesday, when police were summoned to the man's flat by neighbours, who said he was threatening his wife and three children with a hammer.

They were able to take the wife and children away without any difficulty, but the husband barricaded himself on balcony, threatening anyone who came near him with a knife.

A tense four-hour standoff ensued, before members of the elite Star police unit rushed the man, who stabbed one of the officers before being subdued.

The man was seriously injured during the assault and taken to Bern's Insel hospital, where he died on Saturday in the intensive care unit.

swissinfo with agencies

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