An off-duty police officer was chased down and beaten in broad daylight by a large crowd of 'youths' in Brussels on Monday, according to reports.
The cop, who was in plain clothes, was hunted down by a mob of around 40 people as he made his way through Jacques-Franckplein, a public square in the Sint-Gillis neighborhood of Belgium's capital city, at around 6:45 p.m. on Monday evening.
Some 'young people' recognized the officer due to his frequent patrolling in the area, which is known for loitering delinquents, drug dealing, and clashes between rival gangs.
Video footage of the incident shows dozens of young men running after their victim, some armed with blunt objects.
"He was recognized by a large group of young people, after which he was chased and beaten with a crutch, among other things. He was injured and is incapacitated for work for seven days,” explained police spokeswoman Sarah Frederickx.
The assailants also used a baseball bat and sticks in the ambush, authorities say.
While the attack may have been retaliatory against police in nature, it may have also been part of a broader conflict between warring drug gangs.
"We suspect that there are other issues. It has been very restless in the neighborhoods for a long time. The tension has risen sharply," a source informed Het Nieuwsblad. "There is also a rivalry between two gangs: that of the Marolles and that of Jacques Franck."
"It's about territory, both gangs want to increase their market for drugs."
No arrests had been made as of Tuesday.
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(PHOTO: VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)