Conner Rousseau, the President of the Belgian Flemish socialist party (Vooruit), is under investigation for allegedly making “racist and xenophobic” remarks towards the police.
The local public prosecutor’s office is investigating an incident in which Rousseau was involved.
Police officers stationed at the door of a popular bar in his hometown of Sint-Niklaas accuse the politician of hurling insults at them during a local festival at the beginning of September. They reported the alleged use of “racist and xenophobic language”.
Contacted by the press, Rousseau said he had not been officially informed about the investigation.
“I did indeed go to a café in Sint-Niklaas that day and spoke with several police officers. I had had too much to drink, but in my recollection, the tone of those conversations was more joking and friendly,” he claimed.
“I don’t remember exactly what was said, but I am very surprised by what is being written about it. I hope that the public prosecutor’s office invites me soon so that I can get clarity on what exactly is going on.”
Lieven Dehandschutter, mayor of the city, confirmed to the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws a report was filed about the alleged remarks and there is an ongoing investigation by the public prosecutor.
It is unclear what the cause of the incident was but when the socialist politician was preparing to head home for the night, he apparently started arguing with officers.
During this, officers say Rousseau made “shocking remarks”. Various Belgian outlets report the alleged comments were “racist and xenophobic” in nature, without giving specifics.
Following this, the officers decided to draw up an official report. Some newspapers claim the interchange between Rousseau and the police was filmed on an officer’s bodycam.