How No-Go Zones Are Created And Maintained, Part 3

The three videos below are the third set in a series of twelve reports on culture-enriching violence against the emergency services in the Netherlands. Previously: Part 1 (videos 1-3), Part 2 (videos 4-6).

Many thanks to C for the translations, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling.

Video #7: Tram conductor assaulted (from 2011)

Video #8: Violence against first responders: “I looked down and then BOOM”

Video #9: Suspect acquitted in assault on police officer Damien in Leiden

Video transcript #7:

00:00   The conductor was working on tram 9 when he was attacked at the stop [Hague station] Hollands Spoor.
00:05   According to bystanders, the man was badly hurt.
00:08   Because of all the blood, the rumor was that he was stabbed. Fortunately this was not the case,
00:12   and the HTM employee was released from hospital the same afternoon.
00:15   This was not an isolated incident. Last month, an HTM employee was threatened.
00:20   In January and February, two other conductors were victims of violence.
00:24   And last year, HTM employees protested against violence on public transport.
00:29   They tried to get the general public’s attention by handing out wristbands.
00:32   It is in any case a way to raise awareness. You never know if it works, of course.
00:36   But it sends the message that this needs to stop.
00:40   The number of incidents involving serious violence increased considerably in 2010.
00:43   The HTM pledged firm intervention. The PVV [Wilders’ party]
00:46   even wanted to equip conductors with batons.

Video transcript #8:

00:00   I feel something hit my left leg, I look down, and it’s boom.
00:05   For me, at that moment, it was over.
00:08   Former fireman Mark Hommersen remembers it as if it happened yesterday.
00:12   New Year’s Eve 2008-2009. Together with colleagues he’s on his way to a car fire in Hoorn.
00:18   And then something happens he never expected.
00:23   As it turned out later, it was an [illegal] Spanish cracker that had been thrown between my legs.
00:28   A Spanish cracker is comparable to a drill bomb [flashbang] in terms of power,
00:31   in terms of explosive power, and it was their intention to startle us.
00:38   Well, they clearly succeeded. —His fireman’s protective suit mitigated the effects.
00:43   Still, the incident left its mark.
00:46   Permanent hearing damage, and especially psychological problems.
00:50   Mark becomes a different person, his family finds. —I have a short fuse [now].
00:54   At home of course, the smallest kind of incident.
00:58   In the end he even has to quit as a fireman, despite his passion and commitment.
01:03   Next day, he has a conversation with the perpetrator. For the first and the last time.
01:07   He didn’t offer an apology or anything. So, I was done. Not interested.
01:13   He didn’t say sorry? —No, no. He never said sorry, no.
01:17   And if you then hear that he got community service for what he did to me,
01:22   and when you also hear about other incidents in the Netherlands. I think the legal system,
01:27   considering what has been said, the sentencing is still too lenient.
01:31   Way too lenient. I’d say, let him join us for a day, as a punishment.
01:37   When there are serious incidents… Let’s confront him with the facts.
01:41   This is what we do, and… all us first responders in the Netherlands.

Video transcript #9:

00:00   Damien leaves court. The judge has just acquitted the 19-year-old suspect.
00:06   The judge looked at the whole of the dossier, all the evidence,
00:10   and judged that there insufficient evidence that this suspect is the one who kicked the officer.
00:15   This is the state officer Damien was in a year ago: his leg wrapped up, stitches in his knee.
00:20   A nerve in his leg died, and it is questionable whether he will ever recover.
00:24   Two weeks ago he spoke in court, to tell how he was maimed that night,
00:27   when he and his colleague intervene in a brawl on the Lange mare in Leiden.
00:31   I look at my left leg and see it is twisted, halfway down my lower leg, lying under my body…
00:36   and I know: this is bad. This is absolutely very bad.
00:40   He also points at who he believes is the guilty party, the 19-year-old Ali H.
00:45   Madam Speaker, this was my New Year’s Eve… because of him!
00:51   The officer pointed out the defendant as the man who assaulted him.
00:54   But the testimony of the officer turned out not to be enough.
00:58   Nobody else saw the assault, and there is no footage.
01:01   Evidence in this case was lacking. It is the testimony of the officer
01:05   who pointed out the suspect after he had been unconscious for a while.
01:10   There was testimony from a woman who, when she was later heard by the judge,
01:14   was not as confident any more, and was under the influence at the time it happened.
01:18   All in all, the court judged it could not be established
01:21   with sufficient certainty that the suspect was the one who kicked [the victim].
01:24   The acquittal is a blow for Damien, who gave up his job as a teacher to work as a police officer.
01:30   The office for the prosecution did not expect that H. would be acquitted, either.
01:34   Two weeks ago we asked for 18 months prison time,
01:37   because we feel there is enough evidence for both crimes, so
01:40   both the aggravated assault, but also grievous bodily harm of a police officer.
01:44   The department of justice is considering an appeal.