A federal police officer was filmed addressing racist remarks to a train passenger whose ticket he said was not valid, including telling him to “go back to Kinshasa” if he didn’t like “the Belgian system.”
Footage of the incident shared online shows an officer asking a black man, identified as 23-year-old Joshua, for his identity card after a train conductor established that the man’s train ticket is invalid.
“I was coming back from London on the evening of 15 October,” Joshua, whose final destination was Liège, told 7sur7. “My ticket was valid for 15 October but it was written on it that I could change it at any time. I got on a train (…) which got to Liège at 18 minutes past midnight,” he added.
After initially resisting the officer’s request, Joshua can be heard telling the officer he will hand him over his identity card. Shortly after, the officer replies: “If you don’t like it, go back to Kinshasa or I don’t know [where]” referring to the Congolese capital.
The exchange quickly turns heated, with Joshua telling the officer several times to “repeat what [he] just said.”
“I said that if you do not like the Belgian system, then return to Kinshasa. I said it three times, and I just repeated it, I think. I would like your identity card” the officer replies.
Visibly upset, the man tells the officer he has “no right to speak to him that way,” before catching the police officer taking a photo of him, which the officer says is for “his personal collection.”
“The SCNB has taken notice of the facts and has launched an internal investigation,” the national railway company said in a Tweet.
As the exchange continues, a passenger can be heard telling the officer that his remarks were “a little bit racist,” and informing the passenger of a number that he can call to report the incident.
Joshua was reportedly made to get off the train before arriving in Liège, where six police officers were waiting for him, according to HLN.
In a story posted on his Instagram account, he asks people to share the videos of the incident in order to show others “what really happens in Belgium.”
“I’m not expecting anything, only to make people reflect,” he says. “And if you are in the same situation, do not hesitate to speak out.”
The Brussels Times