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Swedish teenager sentenced to eight years for police murder

A 17-year-old youth has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Sweden for killing a police officer, after investigators found his DNA on clothes and a gun found near the crime scene.

Swedish teenager sentenced to eight years for police murder
The 17-year old attending the court hearing earlier on November 8th. Johan Hallnäs / TT

“The court is unanimous. It is important to note that the 17-year-old was not identified by an individual,” said the judge, Göran Lundahl, at a press conference after the sentence was announced. “The sentence is built on circumstantial evidence.”

The prosecutors built their case around security camera footage, and the youth’s DNA, which was found on weapons, clothes, and face mask discovered, together with an electric scooter, 700 metres from the crime scene. The face mask also held large amounts of gunshot residue from the murder weapon.

Andreas Danman, a policeman, was shot while rushing on his police motorcycle to the site of another shooting in the troubled Gothenburg district of Biskopsgården. 

As he reached a crossroads, two shots were fired at him from a submachine gun, one of which hit him. He later died of his injuries, in a rare police killing that has shocked Sweden. 

Klas Johansson, regional police chief of western Sweden, described Danman at the time as being in his early 30s and relatively new to the profession. 

According to Gothenburg court, the shooting was part of a gang conflict, and it was unclear whether the teenager had realised that he was shooting at a policeman.

“It has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the 17-year-old knew that Danman was a police officer when he fired the shots,” Lundahl said. “Our conclusion is that he must have mistaken him for someone else.” 

In its judgment, the court nonetheless ruled that the 17-year-old had had intent to kill, noting that the teenager had previously been sentenced for the attempted murder of a slightly older teenager, who was also part of this investigation. The older teenager was shot just before Danman, alongside two friends.

“This is an incident carried out in a gang environment and as part of a gang conflict,” Lundahl said.

The 17-year-old denies being involved in the incident, claiming to have been with acquaintances playing games in Frölunda, on the other side of Gothenburg, at the time the murder occurred. He was, however, unable or unwilling to describe these acquaintances other than providing their first names.

CORRECTION: Article edited to clarify a quote by the judge about circumstantial evidence.

Member comments

  1. Living in the USA I realize that our justice system is barbaric compared to western Europe, and killing a police officer would be life in prison or the death penalty( I am against the death penalty except when it comes to rape and murder of children). I wonder if a teenager that can kill a cop can be rehabilitated in 8yrs. I believe in rehabilitation, but I wonder if the police officers family believes an 8yr sentence is justice. Violent crime in Scandinavia is far lower than the USA, and I would like to think it is partially due to a rehabilitation system that radically decreases recidivism. Sadly, my country believes in revenge more than rehabilitation, but I believe in change and I hold up Scandinavia as a beacon of hope that we can change as a society in the US.

  2. 8 years is nothing. The death penalty would have been better in my opinion. Killing a servant of the public is no small matter.

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CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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