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Swiss police officers cleared again of killing Nigerian man

Protesters were unhappy with the court's verdict. Keystone / Valentin Flauraud

Six Lausanne police officers have again been cleared of negligent homicide and abuse of office in the case of a Nigerian man who died during an arrest in 2018. The Vaud Cantonal Court rejected an appeal against the original not guilty verdict last year.

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According to the court, the emergency services reacted proportionately.

The 39-year-old Nigerian Mike Ben Peter had resisted a drug check in Lausanne and died whilst being arrested by the six accused police officers. After an acquittal in the first instance in June 2023 and a three-day, sensational appeal, it was up to the three judges of the Court of Appeal to decide whether the six officers were guilty of negligent homicide.

The judges also had to rule on abuse of office, which had been added as a charge in the second instance. They acquitted the police officers on both counts.

The victim’s family lawyer and critical observers have criticised the public prosecutor’s office for failing to investigate the serious allegations of police violence in detail.

The indictment was only six pages long and did not describe the incidents very precisely. It was therefore not clear which of the six police officers was accused of what.

In the second instance ruling, judges referred in particular to the forensic medical reports. These had determined that it was impossible to say with certainty that Mike Ben Peter had died as a result of the police intervention and because he had been held in a prone position.

The appeal court also found that the police had not “culpably” breached their duty of care.

Translated from German by DeepL/mga

This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI we select the most relevant news for an international audience and use automatic translation tools such as DeepL to translate it into English. Providing you with automatically translated news gives us the time to write more in-depth articles.

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