EU wants Belgium to address Africa-born lawmaker’s complaint


BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Parliament said Wednesday it will complain to Belgian authorities after an Africa-born legislator said she was harassed by police when trying to take photos of an incident at a Brussels train station.

European Parliament President David Sassoli said Belgian authorities “owe us an explanation” after German lawmaker Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana said she filed a complaint for police violence against Brussels officers for grabbing her phone and handbag and trying to frisk her late Tuesday.

Herzberger-Fofana, who was born in Mali and has German citizenship, said that she witnessed police officers confronting two black youths at the Brussels Nord station and said some of the officers turned against her when they saw she was filming the incident.

Brussels police said the legislator intervened in the police action and became part of the incident when she started filming it. Police spokeswoman Amal Ihkan said Herzberger-Fofana first refused to show her identity papers. After a subsequent check of her papers, she was allowed to leave, and Ihkan said images of the police action showed no violence or aggression was used against her.

Police said they have launched an internal probe into the incident.

Herzberger-Fofana made her remarks at the start of a debate on racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the United States on May 25. Floyd was a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he pleaded for air and eventually stopped moving.