The Swiss authorities are prosecuting six white police officers in that country over the death of Mike Ben Peter, a Nigerian man who had a fatal heart attack after he was pinned down during an arrest in Lausanne in 2018.
The Independent UK reported that the officers were accused of “homicide through negligence” concerning the death of Peter.
The six men pleaded not guilty stating that other factors caused his death.
The prosecutors alleged that 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.
The indictment said he continued to struggle as he was held face-down by several officers for three minutes until they noticed he appeared unconscious.
It 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 death of the 39-year-old Nigerian triggered protests by activists who have accused the Swiss police of institutional racism – charges the force denied.
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.