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Video catches policeman kicking burglar's head

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Video catches policeman kicking burglar's head
Image: SRF
10:27 CEST+02:00
Lucerne cantonal police are facing criticism for excessive violence after a shocking video aired on Swiss German-language TV showing an officer kicking an alleged thief five times in the head.

The incident was captured by a security camera in a watch shop at 4am on June 3rd while the man was being arrested.

The victim was one of two Romanian burglars caught in the shop after a silent alarm went off.

The police officer was apparently unaware of the presence of the camera as he repeatedly kicked one of the suspects as he was lying on the ground.

The victim suffered bruises and abrasions to the head

The incident was shown on Wednesday on national broadcaster SFR’s Rundschau programme which focused on this as one of multiple cases of violence involving the Lucerne police force.

Police chief Beat Hensler said the incident was an exceptional case which would not be repeated, the SDA news agency reported.

However, he acknowledged that it was one of 22 cases being investigated by independent expert Jürg Sollberger who was commissioned by the canton of Lucerne’s justice minister, Yvonne Schärli.

In an interim report presented on Tuesday, the former cantonal judge from Bern said a third of the cases were serious while another third were of little significance, SDA reported.

Sollberger told the Rundschau programme said the behaviour shown by the policeman in the watch should not be tolerated.

Once a suspect has surrendered, any violence exerted against the person by an officer is “not acceptable”, he said.

Hensler said the police officer involved in the head-kicking incident was suspended and a criminal investigation has been launched into the affair, SDA reported.

“Faults were certainly committed in the past,” the chief admitted.

But policies have now been put in place “so such a case will not longer occur”, he said.

Hensler said the incident was not representative of the work done by Lucerne police.

The video below, shown by SRF, catches the officer in the act:

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