Director of Police Criminal Investigation and special prosecutor in the office of the Prosecutor General Heidi Savurinne, said on Wednesday that she will begin a preliminary probe into police actions during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration in Helsinki on 4 October.
Police came under intense scrutiny at the time for using pepper spray to disperse demonstrators who blocked a city thoroughfare as part of the protest.
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According to the prosecutor’s office, the preliminary probe will examine the grounds for the use of force against the protesters as well as the legality of the police action.
Prosecutor: Other charges may arise
The prosecutor said that at this stage a possible offence under consideration is breach of official duty. Other possible offences will likely materialise during the course of the inquiry, the prosecutor’s office said in a press release.
The special prosecutor will interview witnesses and protesters and will also rely on other accounts of the case.
Since the event, a total of 14 criminal reports have been filed over police conduct during the demonstration.
In addition to criminal complaints lodged with the Prosecutor General’s office, one bystander has requested a police investigation, Savurinne noted.
Last Thursday, the National Police Board released a report following an internal probe into the case and said in a statement that police acted appropriately during the incident.