Jane Petersen, the owner of Nørrebro’s Café Viking, says she is “appalled” that 19-year-old gang member accused of trying to force her to pay protection money was sentenced to eight months in prison yesterday.
“It is wrong to put a young man in prison,” Petersen told Berlingske newspaper. “I would have preferred that he received something like community service.”
The man had been accused of telling Pedersen that he was a member of the local street gang Brothas and that they wanted money to guarantee the safety of Pedersen and her business. Pedersen refused to pay, and after a brick was heaved through her pub’s window she went public and received a massive outpouring of support.
The man was arrested four days later when he tried to squeeze the owner of the nearby Café Heimdal, where police officers happened to be present.
Petersen said she has now put the entire incident behind her. She hosted a street party in Nørrebro in September with the theme, ‘No to threats and violence. Yes to unity’.
“It was my way of saying to myself that life goes on,” she said.
The young man pleaded not guilty, however Pedersen and her counterpart from Café Heimdal both identified him as the perpetrator. The court’s decision was unanimous. The man was also found guilty of illegal possession of weapons and possession of marijuana.