Six Swiss cops face manslaughter charges over death of Nigerian

Six Swiss police officers on Monday appeared in court over the death of a Nigerian man who had a fatal heart attack after he was pinned down during an arrest in 2018.

According to the Independent UK, the white officers were accused of “homicide through negligence” in relation to the death of the 39-year-old Nigerian man, Mike Ben Peter, in Lausanne in 2018.

The accused have all pleaded not guilty stating that other factors caused his death.

Ben Peter’s death triggered protests by activists who have accused the Swiss police of institutional racism – charges the force denied.

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 each face a maximum sentence of three years in prison if convicted.

Due to Swiss privacy laws, the accused names cannot be revealed at this stage of the proceedings.