The District Public Prosecutor will investigate a case of an allegedly violent arrest in Hafnarfjörður last Monday. Three witnesses who would like to remain nameless told Fréttablaðið that four police officers who arrested a man by Hvaleyrarholt in Hafnarfjörður used excessive force in their operations.
The Hafnarfjörður police Station manager confirmed that a struggle had occurred between the police and a man who they detained on suspicion of being in possession of drugs. The man claimed he had COVID-19, so the police called for a specially outfitted COVID-19 police car to prevent infection. According to Fréttablaðið’s sources, the struggle took place while the group waited for the car to arrive. They claimed that during the struggle, one of the police officers used pepper spray and that another hit the man repeatedly in the head with a baton until after he had lost consciousness and fallen to the ground, bleeding.
“I understand that the police need to defend themselves during a struggle, but not continuing to hit the man once he’s down,” one of the witnesses told Fréttablaðið. According to regulation on police officers using force, blows cannot be directed at someone’s head. A baton should be used with caution so that no more injuries should occur than necessary.
The Capital Area Police has stated that body camera recordings are among the evidence for the investigation but that as the case is under investigation, the police cannot comment further on the incident.
Update: The Capital Area Police issued a statement concerning the case at 12.30 pm. One police officer will be temporarily removed from his duties because of the Hafnarfjörður arrest. The headline of the article has been changed to reflect the update.