Screenshot video arrest. Source: Dumpert

Arrest of three Veritas students causes ruckus on social media

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Three students, all members of student association Veritas, were arrested on Tuesday night in the Paardenveld park near the city centre’s canals. The three were part of a larger group of students from the association who, according to the police, were causing a disturbance in the park, and didn’t want to leave when they were asked to do so.

Update: the Veritas board distances itself completely from the students’ behaviour in the park.

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Footage of the arrest is being shared on social media. One of the videos shows a confrontation between a police officer and a female student. The video, 1.5 minutes long, shows how her beer is taken away, there’s some pushing and shoving both ways, and then the student says: “Come on then, hit me!” Soon after, she’s taken down and handcuffed.

Responses on social media regarding the police officers’ actions vary. Michel Eggemont, member of the Utrecht State Council for the SP policitical party and NS employee, writes on Twitter: “Privileged fucking students. You ought to know how much trouble we have with those at my job. ‘Do you know who my father is.’ Fuck them.” Journalist Bart Schut on the other hand states that “nothing in the video justifies this act of violence of this coward.” “I see a coked-up fascist with a baton and a hunger for violence against girls.”

Students refused to leave
In a statement, the police write on Facebook that the video shows only a small part of the officers’ actions and doesn’t show everything that happened prior to the arrest. Police say they were present in the park after multiple reports had come in about a large group of drunk students causing a disturbance. They were said to ‘constantly’ walk into a restaurant, ‘bothered the guests present’, and ‘soiled the toilet’.

“We explained to the students why their behaviour was causing a disturbance, and asked them to leave,” the police write in a statement. “They refused. After twenty minutes of talking, we had no other option but to demand they leave. They still refused. After this, we decided to take action, and arrested three people for, among other things, public intoxication.” The statement claims that in cases like these, it can happen that police use violence when someone ‘resists or doesn’t cooperate’.

The Utrecht Internet Courant says that according to the owner of restaurant Roost aan de Singel, one of the people who’d called the police, the students in question are Veritas members. The association will publish a statement of its own later today.

Update 2.57pm: In a statement, the Veritas board says that ‘at least a number’ of the students are in fact members of Veritas. The meeting in the park was not, however, an organised association activity.

President Brechtje Boerboom writes that the association’s board fully distances itself from the students’ behaviour and ‘strongly disapproves’. “Veritas feels it is inappropriate that members of the association cause a disturbance in a public area, exhibiting rude behaviour. We do not wish to be associated with this type of disturbance. We can be succinct about the alteration with the police: orders from police officers should always be followed.”

Regardless, the association will take further steps. The board “will ensure that serious conversations will be had with the students in question.” “Furthermore, a meeting will be held shortly at C.S. Veritas between the management of restaurant Roost aan de Singel and the troublemakers, where the board’s expectation is for the students in question to personally offer their apologies to the Roost management. Depending on the result of that conversation, we will see whether further measures will be necessary.”

Update: 3.34pm: A spokesperson for the police says the three arrested students have since been “sent home with a fine”. The spokesperson says it is too early to tell whether charges will be filed against the students for, for instance, use of force against a public official.

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