Death of Bertus de Man

Bertus de Man (born c. 1987, died 2017) was a Dutch man who died after being arrested by the police for dangerous driving. The Public Prosecution Service (Dutch: Openbaar Ministerie) announced he had died of a cocaine overdose and his family disputed the account, saying excessive violence during the arrest had caused his death. In 2020, the court of appeal supported the police account.


Langestraat [nl] goes from bottom left to top right on this map of central Amersfoort

Bertus de Man was a 30-year-old man living in Nijkerk, in the Netherlands. Late in the night of Sunday 15 January 2017, de Man was driving his car through central Amersfoort. When he failed to stop when asked to do so by the police, he was followed and arrested on the Langestraat [nl] for dangerous driving. According to the police account, he resisted arrest and was taken to the detention centre in Houten, where he became unwell in the cell. He was then taken to the St. Antonius hospital and died there on Monday 16 January.[1][2]


The Public Prosecution Service (Dutch: Openbaar Ministerie) announced on Thursday 19 January that de Man had died of a cocaine overdose and the injuries on his body could be explained by the actions of the medical team attempting to resuscitate him. The family of de Man disputed this version and asked forensic pathologist Frank van de Goot for a second opinion.[3] On the Friday, one hundred mourners made a silent march through Amersfoort, which ended at the Langestraat. Members of the No Surrender Motorcycle Club attended.[4] The family continued to press for an investigation into excessive force used during the arrest and claimed that the police discriminated against them because they lived on a trailer park.[5][6]


In 2018, the Public Prosecution Service closed the investigation. It had decided that cocaine abuse was the cause of death and that the violence used by police officers during the arrest of de Man was proportionate and legal.[7][1] The court of appeal in Arnhem supported this view in 2020, after a legal challenge by the family of de Man, which alleged that there was mobile telephone film footage of de Man lying lifeless on the ground after his arrest.[8] Ferdinand Grapperhaus, Minister of Justice and Security, then denied suggestions made by members of the DENK political party that there was a pattern of police brutality which had resulted in the deaths of Ihsan Gürz, Rishi Chandrikasing, Mitch Henriquez and de Man.[9]


  1. ^ a b Staff writer (4 July 2018). "OM: cocaïne definitieve doodsoorzaak Bertus de Man [Public prosecutor: Cocaine caused death of Bertus de Man]". RTV Utrecht (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  2. ^ Staff writer (16 January 2017). "Man dies after being arrested at traffic check". NL Times. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  3. ^ Staff writer (20 January 2017). "Twijfels over doodsoorzaak Bertus de Man na contra-expertise [Doubts concerning cause of death of Bertus de Man after second opinion]". RTV Utrecht (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  4. ^ Staff writer (11 February 2017). "Stille tocht voor overleden arrestant Bertus de Man [Silent march to remember the death of Bertus de Man]". Hardnieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  5. ^ Kövi, Istvan (5 July 2018). "Familie Bertus de Man eist vervolging agenten [Family of Bertus de Man demands prosecution of police officers]". AD (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  6. ^ Kövi, Istvan (16 January 2017). "Familie: "Bertus overleden door politiegeweld" [Family: "Bertus was killed by police violence"]". AD (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  7. ^ van den Boom, Iris (4 July 2018). "OM sluit onderzoek naar dood Bertus de Man definitief [Public prosecutor closes investigation into death of Bertus de Man]". AD (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  8. ^ Kövi, Istvan (20 January 2020). "Hof: Agenten gebruikten geen buitensporig geweld tegen Bertus de Man [Court: Officers did not use disproportionate force against Bertus de Man]". De Stentor (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Police brutality not the cause of Leischendam man's death in custody: Prosecutor". NL Times. 9 June 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2022.