Czech court gives suspended sentence to woman who threatened to burn down police station in the aftermath of the death of Stanislav Tomáš
News server iDNES.cz has reported that the District Court in Teplice has given a suspended prison sentence to a woman who made threats against police officers in association with the death of Stanislav Tomáš, who died shortly after police intervened against him in June there, finding her guilty of calling the police station and threatening to set it on fire a couple of days after Mr Tomáš died. According to the court decision, which iDNES.cz has seen, the woman made the threat to "burn down the building where you all are" in a profanity-laced phone call.
The court found her guilty of making threats with the aim of interfering with a public authority. There was no public hearing of the case, but the woman was notified that she has been sentenced to six months in prison, conditionally suspended for a probationary period of 18 months.
In this context it is interesting to note that in 2016, the ROMEA organization in Prague also received such threats, posted to the organization's Facebook page as the brief call to "Burn down all of ROMEA." In that case, the police and prosecutor, after identifying and interrogating the person who made the threat, came to the conclusion that no crime had been committed and called the threat a case of "a kind of popular 'turn of phrase' used on the Internet".
Mr Tomáš died on 19 June 2021 after police in Teplice used force to handcuff him, and bystander video footage of the arrest was shared to social media, saved and published by news server Romea.cz, and then broadly criticized by both Czech and international activists and organizations, sparking protests all around Europe. The video shows an officer kneeling on Mr Tomáš's neck in a manner reminiscent of the intervention during which the Black man George Floyd was murdered in May 2020 in the USA.
Many MEPs compared the case of Mr Tomáš to that of Mr Floyd during a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, 23 November. During debate about the police brutality committed against Romani people in Europe, some MEPs noted that while Mr Floyd's death sparked a media storm and extensive protests, especially in the USA, almost nobody in Europe is discussing the fate of Mr Tomáš, a Romani man from the Czech Republic.
The Czech Police have concluded that there is no association between their intervention and the death of Mr Tomáš, according to the final autopsy report. The lawyer for Mr Tomáš's family disagrees with that conclusion.
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