Six Swiss Police officers have reportedly appeared in court in connection with the death of a Nigerian man who suffered a fatal heart attack while being restrained during an arrest.
The officers were charged with “homicide through negligence” in connection with the death of 39-year-old Mike Ben Peter, a Nigerian in Lausanne, according to the Independent UK.
All of the accused have entered not guilty pleas and claimed that other circumstances led to his demise.
Following Ben Peter’s passing, activists staged demonstrations and accused the Swiss police of having an institutional racism, which the force refuted.
According to the indictment, the officers first noticed peter during a drug patrol after he collected a bag later shown to contain marijuana, adding that Peter did not comply with police requests and the officers used pepper spray and knee kicks to the ribs and groping to get him on the ground and handcuff him.
It said he continued to struggle as he was held face-down by several officers for three minutes until they noticed he appeared unconscious.
The indictment said Peter was later pronounced dead after a heart attack with multiple causes, including the fact that he was held on his stomach and subjected to stress.
The officers (names withheld due to Swiss privacy laws) each face a maximum sentence of three years in prison if convicted.