ICJ law clerk accuses Dutch police of 'racially-motivated brutality'

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A lawyer on a 10-month clerkship at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague claims she is a victim of “racially-motivated police brutality” following an incident with officers on her way to work. Chakka Laguerre said in a Facebook post that she ended up in a hospital “swollen, bruised, and injured” after the incident. The post has since become unavailable for viewing.
 
Dutch authorities have called her accusations “completely unfounded.” The police chief of the Hague unit will submit a complaint to ICJ president Ronny Abraham against her.
 
Two police officers on patrol spotted Laguerre cross an intersection while the pedestrian light was red, authorities said in a statement. CCTV footage showed a city bus narrowly missing her.
 
Laguerre – who was cycling to work that day – recalled in her post that she got off her bicycle upon reaching the intersection, as she could not turn safely. “I ended up in a spot where I felt unsafe in respect of cars making right turns; therefore, to move myself to safety, I quickly walked my bicycle across the street to get out of the way.”
 
The officers spoke to the woman from their car once she had reached the pavement, but she soon turned her head after a brief response and continued on her way, authorities said.
 
They drove up to her and got out of the car to speak about her behaviour. According to Laguerre, the officers spoke to her in Dutch (which she does not understand), asked for her ID, and told her she was under arrest.
 
Dutch law requires individuals over 13 years old to present proof identity when asked by police and certain officials. Those unable or unwilling or unable to do so will be liable to prosecution, the government said in its website. They will have to pay a fine, and may also be taken to a police station to establish identity.
 
“I asked them why I was under arrest, and I told them that I did not travel with my US or UK passports but showed them my ICJ badge ID… I also had my Dutch identity card that was issued to me from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that gives me a status in this country.”
 
However, Dutch police said she did not produce identification and wanted to walk away. At that point, the police initially grabbed hold of her bicycle and subsequently held on to her hand.
 
“From that moment onwards the woman [Laguerre] started to seriously resist,” the Dutch police said. They claimed Laguerre tried to escape, and also “tried to tackle” one of the officers with her legs.
 
For her part Laguerre claimed that the officers “began aggressively pulling on and bending” her arms, and there was a struggle as she was placed in the police car.
 
Officers said the Laguerre’s “intense resistance” continued in the car, which prompted them to take her to the police station with sirens and flashing lights.
 
She was brought to an acting public prosecutor and placed in a cell. Laguerre was eventually charged with failing to show her identity documents, and not for resisting officers. “A total of 1 hour and 20 minutes were spent from initially addressing the accused and her eventual dismissal,” authorities said.
 
Laguerre received her juris doctor from the University of Michigan in 2014. Her profile on the university website said she began her 10-month clerkship at the Court in September, working for Judge Giorgio Gaja of Italy.


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