Belgian police appear to give Nazi salute during horrific custody death – video emerges

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Jozef Chovanec, 38, was arrested at Charleroi airport, outside Brussels, more than two years ago after causing a disturbance on his flight. The video, which was recorded on February 23 2018, showed the man first bang his head on the wall of his cell until his face was covered in blood, before being restrained by officers. He was eventually pinned to the ground by several policemen with on sitting on the 38-year-old’s chest for 18 minutes.

One female officer was recorded making what appeared to be a Nazi salute while others laughed during the incident, the silent footage obtained by local newspaper Het Laatse Nieuws showed.

Medical staff were seen using CPR on the man as his body appeared lifeless.

Mr Chovanec was taken to hospital, but fell into a coma and died the next day, officially of a heart attack.

His death has drawn parallels with the case of George Floyd, an American who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck on May 25.

Mr Chovanec’s wife has now appealed for a fresh inquiry into her husband’s death after the new images were release.

Henrieta Chovancova said: “I want to know what happened and why the police behaved that way.

“When I saw the videos of the arrest of the American George Floyd, I immediately thought: my husband died the same way.”

His family said they do not know what sparked the 38-year-old’s erratic behaviour after he was taken into police custody.

An autopsy revealed he had not been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

Mrs Chovancova added: “Something seemed to be going on with my husband, he wasn’t feeling well, but the police ignored my husband all night.

“When they saw the blood, they should have given him first aid. Instead, they sat on him with so many people. He couldn’t breathe properly.”

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Before his death, Mr Chovanec’s ran a firm that recruited Slovakian construction workers for projects in Belgium.

He frequently travelled between the two countries for his business.

Two years after Mr Chovanec’s death, the investigation is still ongoing.

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A spokesman for the Charleroi public prosecutor said all officers involved in the incident had been interviewed.

But “due to the crisis surrounding COVID-19, there has been a delay”, the spokesman added.

A police spokesman said the officer video giving a Nazi salute was today dismissed.

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