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Tai spent eight days in jail for nothing

Imagine receiving a phone call from the police with the message that you are searched for committing hacking and fraud while you haven’t done anything. That’s what happened to Shengetai 'Tai' Sitholi.

Following that phone call, Tai spent eight days in jail in Saint-Gilles. Even though there is tons of evidence of his innocence, he has still not been acquitted, he is still a suspect and the police still did not return some of his personal belongings like his phone.

Interview: Ama Kissi, video and edit: Claudine Dekesel, video and photography: Sammy Deham, subtitles: Hanne Vansteelandt, chief editor: Tim Vanhaecke.

In February 2020, a man was caught by a camera in a casino withdrawing money using data he stole through phishing emails. A couple of months later, the footage of the suspect was shown on the VTM TV show Faroek. A viewer falsely identified the man on the footage as Tai and what followed was a nightmare come true.

Picture retrieved from www.bruzz.be
On the left: footage of the suspect on February 24th.
In the middle and on the right: pictures of Tai taken before and after the date of the footage.

The man they are looking for is around 1.68 m, has a buzz cut and speaks with a Dutch accent. Before ánd after the footage was shot, Tai had significantly longer hair than the suspect. Moreover, Tai is 1.85 m and definitely does not speak with a Dutch accent. Tai even had proof he was at work when the crimes were committed and still he had to spend eight days in jail.

Both Tai and his close circle believe that this would never have happened to him had Tai been white. This case proves how structural racism is still very present in today’s police system. Doctor of Psychology Ama Kissi interviewed Tai focusing on how he mentally experienced his time in jail and the days that followed. To this day, Tai still suffers from what happened to him.



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