Czech activist alleges reconstruction of shooting incident in Tanvald was one-sided
The police reconstruction of the New Year's shooting incident in Tanvald has been performed without the participation of the surviving victim, but the state prosecutor does not see anything wrong with that. František Kostlán, an activist who has long followed cases of hate violence, has criticized the police procedure.
News server iDNES.cz has also reported that the funeral of the young Romani man who died as the result of the shooting was paid for through a public collection. The family announced the collection after its request to the town for financial assistance was refused. The funeral cost CZK 33 000, CZK 5 000 more than was eventually collected.
"Mr Tatár did ask the town for a financial contribution to the funeral, but the town council refused because it did not see any reason to contribute," Mayor of Tanvald Petr Polák said, adding that when residents are unable to bury someone for economic reasons, the town pays for cremations only. "It would have set a precedent - people turn to us rather often with the problem of having no money for a funeral, but the town is not able to help."
The father of the family is unemployed, and CZK 33 000 for the funeral was more than the family could afford, but the Tatárs did not go unassisted. People sent the family a total of CZK 28 000 to account number 237843348/0300. The family still owes CZK 5 000.
"Romani people from Tanvald sent us money, as did a school director from Prague, Ing. Ščuka. We are grateful to them. We will have to save up money for a headstone ourselves," Ladislav Tatár, the father of the gunshot victim, said.
News server iDNES.cz has reported that according to the results released so far from the investigation into the New Year's shooting, the 63-year-old man who shot the youths in self-defense at the far-flung site near the railroad tracks between Desna and Tanvald did not intend to commit murder. He was allegedly defending himself against an attack by the young men, as State Prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová says the reconstruction of the incident has confirmed. The next phase of the investigation will show whether the assaulted shooter used proportionate force in his self-defense.
One problem, however, is that neither the police nor the state prosecutor have summoned the surviving Romani gunshot victim to a reconstruction of the incident. "I have proposed that the reconstruction be repeated and that my son be deposed again. My boy was not present for the reconstruction and the shooter may have used that to his advantage. I have been waiting for the police to come for my son to interrogate him, but that hasn't happened yet," Ladislav Tatár, the father of the victims, said. "I have joined the criminal proceedings and I am waiting for the results of the police investigation and the opportunity to review the file."
The state prosecutor has explained that the surviving victim has not been summoned to a reconstruction because he reportedly does not remember anything. "He couldn't be summoned to a reconstruction because as he said, he doesn't know anything. If he never encountered anyone, never was anywhere, and doesn't know anything, that makes it hard. We can't summon him for a reconstruction. We would be asking him about something he knows nothing about. If he wants to tell us something else, all he has to do is contact the Police Commissioner. We will definitely verify his version of the events, but we can't force him to remember them," State Prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová commented.
"This is crude demagoguery on the part of the state prosecutor. The gunshot victim was interrogated by police one time, in the hospital just after the shooting at a moment when he was under the influence of sedation. At that particular moment, he probably really couldn't remember anything, he could have been in shock, but that does not mean he has lost his memory. The impression I have is that either the police or the state prosecutor were afraid the gunshot victim would remember something during a reconstruction. I think any honest judge must label such a one-sided reconstruction as a procedure which openly sides with one of the two sides of this conflict. I have never made any claims about how the whole incident went down, I wasn't there, it could have happened one way or the other, and I still am not making any claims about what happened. However, as we can see from this botched reconstruction, the work of the Czech Police and the state prosecutor's office cannot be relied on," František Kostlán, an activist who has long followed cases of hate violence, told news server Romea.cz.
The state prosecutor rejects the allegations that police officers are taking one side or the other and says the case is still open. "The criminal proceedings are still underway, the investigation is not yet complete, much more evidence will be collected," Bradáčová said.
The state prosecutor's office will now wait two to three months for affidavits from ballistics experts, expert witnesses, and forensics. Bradáčová said the results of their research will be very essential. The investigation has reportedly already ruled out racial motivation for the shooter.
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