Black EU lawmaker says victim of police violence in Brussels

German MEP Pierette Herzberger-Fofana is from the Green party. [© European Union 2020 - Source : EP]

A black European Union lawmaker said on Wednesday (17 June) she was a victim of “extremely traumatic” police violence outside a Brussels railway station, and lodged a complaint against Belgian police.

Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, a German Green party deputy who was born in Mali, told the European Parliament she was pushed and grabbed by four officers on Tuesday after she began to film police harassing two young black people outside the Gare du Nord.

A police spokeswoman said an investigation into the incident was under way but denied violence had been used.

“Four of those armed police officers brutally pushed me against the wall, they grabbed my handbag away from me, spread my legs and a police officer wanted to frisk me and they dealt with me in a very humiliating way,” she told the parliament.

Herzberger-Fofana said police did not react when she said she was a member of the European Parliament, showed her two passports, Belgian residency card and official EU accreditation.

“I feel this is a discriminatory act with underlying racist tendencies,” Herzberger-Fofana said.

The May 25 death of black American George Floyd in police custody has led to weeks of protests in the United States against racism and policy brutality, and prompted more European citizens to challenge discrimination in society.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday told the parliament she was aware of the lack of black staff and commissioners in the bloc’s executive.

“The time has come for us to do more than just … condemn racism, we have to take this opportunity to talk about racism openly and frankly,” von der Leyen said.

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