An officer doing what appears to be a Nazi salute inside a prison cell

Het Laatste Nieuws

Video shows officer doing Nazi salute before man in custody dies

While attempting to restrain the man, one officer also sat on his chest for 16 minutes.


Samira Sadeque


Posted on Aug 20, 2020

A Belgian police officer was caught on camera seemingly doing the Nazi salute, shortly before the death of a Slovakian man in custody in 2018, according to Vice.

Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN) published the newly obtained footage on Wednesday. It shows 38-year-old Jozef Chovanec in custody, surrounded by at least three to four officers. 

Chovanec was arrested after an incident on a flight at Belgium’s Charleroi airport, Vice reported. Video footage from inside the cell, where Chovanec was being held, shows his face and chest bloodied after he banged himself against a wall numerous times.

While attempting to restrain Chovanec, one officer sat on his chest for 16 minutes, the Brussels Times reported. Chovanec reportedly died a few days later from a cardiac arrest. 

One officer in the video is seemingly cheering with a clenched fist, while other officers are seen hunched over him, their faces blurred, attempting to treat and resuscitate him. 

Later in the video, that same officer is seen holding her hand out in what appears to be a Nazi salute. 

Toward the end of the video, a few officers are seen dragging Chovanec, whose body appears limp and face bloodied, from the bed in the cell.

Chovanec’s wife, Henrieta Chovancová, is now demanding a new judge in the investigation into Chovanec’s cause of death after the video surfaced, according to the Brussels Times

Seems like that there was something, maybe some mental health issue was going on and at the time,” she told HLN. “Because usually he was not reacting like this.”

“Why they did it to him, why they treated him like this?” she said. “I want some justice for him as well of course.”

Chovancová reportedly said that after watching the video of the police killing of George Floyd, she wanted justice for her husband.

“At the videos of the arrest of the American George Floyd, I immediately thought: my husband died the same way,” she said, per the Brussel Times. “Only the police also flat-out laughed at my husband and a policewoman next to him did a Hitler salute.”

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*First Published: Aug 20, 2020, 5:28 pm CDT