Civil society members of Czech Govt Roma Council: Investigate police response in Sokolov - it was inadequate and undermines trust in the police
The volunteer civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs have called on the relevant police authorities to investigate the behavior of the individual police officers following the attack perpetrated against Romani community members in Sokolov on Friday, 23 July. "The civil society members of the Council consider the intervention by police to have been obviously inadequate and confirmation of what a significant part of society, and not just Romani people, have been saying - that people are working for the police whose behavior toward Romani men and women significantly undermines their trust in the Czech Police," reads the statement, which news server Romea.cz is publishing here in full.
Statement by the civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs on the situation in Sokolov
The Council is not the body that should be investigating the lawfulness of police procedure or the interventions by individual officers, but we nevertheless feel obliged to express our view of the situation in Sokolov and to call on the relevant bodies of the Police of the Czech Republic to come to conclusions that will lead not just to a consistent, objective investigation of this situation, but that will lead to holding responsible and punishing the intervening officers should it be proven that they have committed wrongdoing.
The civil society members of the Council consider the intervention by police in Sokolov to have been obviously inadequate and confirmation of what a significant part of society, and not just Romani people, have been saying - that people working for the police whose behavior toward Romani men and women significantly undermines their trust in the Czech Police. If the police role is not just to protect people's safety, but also to perform tasks entrusted to them by the regulations of the directly applicable legislation of the European Union or the international human rights treaties that are part of the Czech legal code, then a situation whereby the barrel of a service weapon was allegedly placed against the head of an unarmed woman, or a situation in which Romani men and women who had just been harmed were then prejudicially called "welfare recipients" by some of the intervening officers, intentionally humiliating their dignity, is behavior that we consider to be in contravention of the laws that the police first and foremost should thoroughly uphold.
Because some police officers make such mistakes over and over again, the authority of the police becomes significantly reduced and the dignity and seriousness of their office is endangered. This reality manifests itself in the growing repugnance for the police and the demand among a significant part of Romani society to find a way to defend themselves on their own. We do not need a militia, though - we need a functional police force! For that reason, we are calling on the Police of the Czech Republic to take steps to guarantee that officers who obviously violate their legally-established obligations will be duly punished and that conditions will be established so the Police of the Czech Republic can guarantee these mistakes will never repeat.
The civil society members of the Council furthermore call on police representatives and those of the Interior Ministry to immediately create a dedicated channel for communications with representatives of the Council and its bodies, to explain their investigative procedures, and to take an active approach to such communications, the aim of which will be to reduce the escalation of problems with civil coexistence.
Civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs
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