The prosecutor’s office in the Belgian port city of Antwerp has launched a judicial investigation following the death of a 29-year-old Algerian man hours after his arrest by police.
Amid accusation of police brutality on social media under the hashtag #MurderInAntwerp, police spokesman Sven Lommaert told The Associated Press on Monday that police officers intervened at a cafe terrace in downtown Antwerp after the man started assaulting people and throwing furniture around.
The Antwerp prosecutor’s office said police officers were forced to handcuff the man.
“At a certain point the man became unwell and the emergency services were notified. The man was taken in critical condition to the hospital where he died last night,” the office said.
Lommaert declined to give details about the investigation but said the man looked disturbed when police arrived at the scene on Sunday afternoon, adding that he was bleeding and had a head wound. Lommaert said officers at the scene thought he was under the influence of narcotics.
Footage posted on Twitter showed the man lying on the ground and being held by two police officers. Lommaert said the man was brought to the ground by officers “to prevent him from harming himself or others.”
“He was transported to the hospital where he underwent an operation,” Lommaert said. “He was pronounced dead between 9 and 10 pm.”