farmer shot
© Omrop Fryslân, Willem Vermeltfoort
Jouke Hospes (16) from Akkrum, the Netherlands.
On July 5th, Jouke, a 16-year-old farmer's son from the Dutch village of Akkrum, and his 17-year-old brother Sytse joined a group of farmers to protest at a distribution center near the Dutch city of Heerenveen. Around 10 PM they decided to go to McDonald's and then drive home in their tractors.

As Jouke drove around a police barricade near highway A32 in Heerenveen, following other tractors who had done the same, his tractor was shot at by the police.

According to the police, "tractor drivers tried to run into officers and service vehicles." As a 'threatening situation' arose, the police fired warning shots and also shot at a tractor - it was Jouke's. Soon after, his tractor was seized and he was arrested. A picture shows a bullet hole in the frame of his vehicle, near the cabin.

Mother of the two boys, Tjitske, explains that the brothers encountered a police barrier at the start of highway A32 in Heerenveen and that Jouke did not drive towards the officers. "He wanted to drive around it, over the slope. I don't understand why they pulled the trigger. I really don't. And if you decide to shoot, why not aim at the tires? The bullet hole is near the cabin. He could have died."

Footage on social media show a cop shooting at a tractor with trailer that drives over the slope and then drives away. The vehicle is not seen driving towards police officers.

Meanwhile, Jouke's family is shocked by the events. "My son has just graduated from agricultural livestock farming. We are livestock farmers ourselves, we have 120 cows, and that is what Jouke wants to do. But we are in an area where we have been told to reduce our nitrogen emissions by up to 87 percent. Can the business even continue with these measures? It's because of these questions that the boys are protesting."

A day later, Jouke was released and according to the Public Prosecution Service (OM) is no longer suspected of attempted manslaughter due to 'insufficient leads'. The OM said he's still a suspect, but they're not revealing on what grounds. The family's lawyer suspects that, if anything, he'll get a note of traffic violation. A couple of hours after his release, Jouke thanked many for their support and kind messages in a message posted on one of the farmer protest groups on social media. In addition, he said:
I'm lucky I'm still alive. I was also very shocked by it all myself. [...] I was driving very slowly and carefully and suddenly I hear a BANG in my right ear. My ears start ringing. In a panic I quickly drove away before a second shot was fired. I thought it was a rubber bullet, but I was shocked once I saw the bullet hole in my tractor. It's really incomprehensible. A lot of things were going through my head. I would've been finished if I drove a bit faster or a bit slower, then I wouldn't have been able to tell you all this. I still can't figure out why the police were shooting, the footage also clearly shows that I'm not doing anything wrong. [...] It was shock after shock, but thankfully I was freed today.
On whether on not the family will sue the police, the lawyer said that 'it's a personal decision of the family', but that he can imagine they'll file a report.

In the following video, Jouke shows the bullet hole in his tractor and asks: "Why fire a shot near my head? Shoot the tires, it's a big target.":

Interview with Jouke

Jouke talked about his experiences with Dutch broadcaster Omrop Fryslân on July 7th (translated by
"It all started at the distribution center in Heerenveen," says Jouke. "We were there because we wanted to make ourselves heard. We have a farm ourselves in Akkrum which my brothers and I would like to take over. It already has been restless since the nitrogen map was published."

"The atmosphere was good. At a certain point the police came and they told us that the riot police will sweep everything clean. That meant that we all had to leave. We did. Then we went to Thialf. We had a good time there as well, but at some point we wanted to go to McDonald's. A little drive through Heerenveen."

"You follow the procession of tractors. Down by the highway were two police cars. All those other tractors drove around them. I was left alone. I also wanted to drive past and to quietly drive on the other side of the road."

"You can also see that in the video, that I am driving away. While I was driving away, I heard a dull bang and it turned out that a shot had been fired. At first I thought about rubber bullets, but when I got out in Oudehaske to see what had happened, there was a big hole in the tractor."

At Oudehaske, Jouke was arrested by the police on suspicion of manslaughter, after which he was transferred to the prison in Leeuwarden. On Wednesday, many farmers came to the prison to support him. In the end, Jouke was released at 9:15 pm.

"I'm doing pretty well, but it's a mixed feeling. You're free, but someone did shoot at you. I also want to know from the police why they did this. The suspicion of attempted murder has been removed by the public prosecutor, but I'm still a suspect. The question is what exactly happened. You can see in the video that I'm not doing anything wrong."

A video soon circulated on the internet showing Jouke driving away from the officer. When asked what happened before that, Jouke says in a certain tone. "The atmosphere was nice. There was really nothing going on. So I want to know from that cop why he did this, because it could have gone wrong. I could have been dead."

The policeman in question is now suspected of attempted manslaughter. After an investigation by the National Criminal Investigation Service, the OM concluded that the officer used his firearm 'in such a way that there were sufficient reasons for the OM to investigate an attempted manslaughter'. Once the investigation has been completed, the OM will decide whether it will actually prosecute and, if so, whether there will be a lawsuit.

Chief Commissioner Gery Veldhuis said that the policeman who fired the shot has been devastated by the events. According to Veldhuis, the policeman thinks it's terrible that he found himself in a situation in which he thought he had to use his firearm. He said he also didn't know that the driver was a sixteen-year-old boy.

During the protests, there were two other incidents where an officer fired a warning shot at farmers and another who aimed his gun at a person. According to the OM, both cops also didn't act 'in accordance with the official instructions'. However, the OM said that this won't lead to a criminal investigation and that the police will handle this matter internally.

Culprit of chaos

Meanwhile, Dutch farmer protests are still ongoing. The ridiculous 'sustainability' rules have already destroyed lives, will destroy countless family businesses as time progresses, and will ultimately lead to suffering throughout Dutch and European society. Already, several desperate farmers have committed suicide due to these wrong-headed government mandates. While people are justifiably angry at the policeman who fired the shot and at the other policemen who acted inappropriately, and others are angry at the farmers for blocking the roads or for doxing the policeman, the government, which is entirely to blame for the anger and chaos, sits back and watches.

Of course, many people know who the real culprit is, and we can only hope that the protests continue and that changes will be made so that farmers are not forced to sell their family businesses or see them collapse. Sadly, however, it seems that the country, and most of the world, is heading into very difficult times. The best way to survive through these and upcoming difficulties could be to support and to rely on each other; one example would be to buy directly from the farmer.