Czech court hands down sentencing in pool brawl case, one Romani man acquitted for having attempted to stop the altercation
The District Court in Teplice, Czech Republic handed down sentences on 13 May 2021 against the defendants in the case of a 2018 altercation at a swimming pool that received national attention. Defendants Jiří Demeter and Roman Dunka will be sent to a maximum-security prison for one year for having been accomplices to intentional battery and rioting.
In 2018 they assaulted David Michajlak at a swimming pool in Dubí (Teplice district) after he attempted to intervene in a dispute between two women. He suffered moderately severe injuries as a result.
The verdict has yet to take effect and the defendants have already appealed. Other participants in the conflict, defendants Radek Čonka and Michal Dunka, were given suspended sentences of two years in prison.
Defendant Žaneta Dunková was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence for rioting and making dangerous threats. As for defendant Rostislav Drška, the court ruled that he committed no illegal behavior.
The group of six had originally been charged with attempted grievous bodily harm, for which they faced up to 10 years in prison. The incident transpired on 7 August 2018 and sparked an anti-Romani, racist reaction on social media.
A woman who became an injured party in this case had decided to scold a child at the swimming pool who, among other things, was holding one of his peers down underwater, according to the case file. A person using the name Petr Štefanec described the situation after the fact in a Facebook post as follows:
"One Romani child began to push a so-called white child underwater - I do not believe he meant to cause him harm. The mother of the white child jumped into the water, grabbed the Romani child who had been holding her child underwater, pushed him away, and lifted her own child out of the water."
Žaneta Dunková witnessed this and, although she is not the mother of the Romani child involved, began to stand up for him and to confront the white child's mother; as for the Romani child's actual mother, who was never charged in relation to the incident, she described the entire incident differently. "That lady grabbed my child by the shoulder, began shaking him and shouted 'I've had enough of you, you're pissing me off' and threw him into the children's pool as if he were a rag," the Romani child's mother told news server Romea.cz at the time.
The Romani child's mother ran over to help her child when she saw what had happened. The dispute between Dunková (who was eventually charged) and the "white" woman was then joined by another visitor to the swimming pool, David Michajlak, who did his best to separate the arguing women.
The other defendants in the case then decided to protect Dunková, to whom they are related, from Michajlak. He was hospitalized with moderately severe injuries after Dunková's relatives assaulted him.
Michajlak was later given a Medal for Heroism by Czech President Miloš Zeman, who called his intervention an attempt to save lives. Judge Stanislav Řehola announced when handing down the sentencing that there was no evidence of Dunková having joined the attack on Michajlak.
The judge also said he believes another person or persons were involved in the scuffle who have yet to be identified. When handing down sentencing the court took into account the fact that Dunková was the only defendant to express regret for her behavior and to have apologized to the injured party before the court.
"She has demonstrated self-reflection about her behavior," the judge said. The other defendants, with the exception of Drška, have confessed their physical contact with Michajlak.
"All of them have confessed to having shoved [Michajlak] at a minimum," the judge said. The Romani defendants had previously stated that both Michaljak and the "white" woman had abused them in racist terms as "black swine".
One of the Romani defendants was quoted by news server iDNES.cz as telling the "white" woman: "You drank 10 beers, I had seven. You drank more than I did there."
"Then you all started shouting that you would 'shoot the black fuckers,'" iDNES.cz quoted one of the Romani defendants as alleging. As for defendant Drška, he has been acquitted because there is no evidence of his having assaulted anybody.
There is evidence that Drška also did his best to prevent the altercation. The poolside brawl became the pretext for neo-Nazis to organize a demonstration in front of the Dubí Municipal Authority that deteriorated into rioting.
During that assembly, among other things, photographer Vít Hassan was assaulted; his attackers received suspended sentences for their crimes. A woman was also photographed giving the Nazi salute at that demonstration.
- Czech court sentences brutal, racially-motivated assailant who attacked Romani man in front of children to 7.5 years in prison
- Czech public health officials asking whether those testing positive for COVID-19 are Czech or Romani - but questions about nationality not being asked systematically
- Czech footballer appeals UEFA ban, insists he never said anything racist
- Czech court gives suspended sentence to attacker who threatened to kill Romani women and their children with an ax
- Czech court reopens case against accused neo-Nazis that has lasted more than a decade
- Czech court orders director of housing corporation to apologize to Romani community member for abusive remarks
- Czech court sentences man who praised deadly terrorist attack on New Zealand mosques to six years in prison, the longest such sentence yet
- Romani organizations launch campaign about the census that "features" Czech President Zeman
- Czech footballer Ondřej Kúdela, centre-back for Slavia Prague, accused of racism in Glasgow
- Czech hospital refuses to examine young Romani man - by the time doctors agreed to see him, he died
- Synodal Council of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren calls on ombudsman to apologize for anti-Romani remarks
- Mayor of Czech town apologizes after bureaucrat recommends application to use the town logo be rejected because she believed the applicant to be Romani
- Czech ombudsman attacks ROMEA organization for criticizing racist joke by incoming Chief Public Health Officer
- Incoming Czech Chief Public Health Officer apologizes to Romani people for racist joke
- Brand-new Czech Chief Public Health Officer has a history of anti-Romani racism in her previous public communications about COVID-19
- Czech NGO director tells ombudsman he should resign for refusing to acknowledge discrimination against Roma
- Czech organizations insist the lower house and Prime Minister reject the anti-Romani remarks of the ombudsman
- Slovak NGO will appeal after court rules it is not discriminatory for hospitals to segregate Romani women away from non-Romani women
- CNN: Czech Republic has discriminated against Romani refugees from Ukraine, updated data refute the myth that they all hold dual citizenship
- Czech research finds one-third of Romani refugees from Ukraine have experienced discrimination here, most children are not in education, dual citizenship has not been "abused" by them
- Hungary's Jewish Community protests PM Orbán's racist speech in which he said Hungarians don't want to become a "mixed-race" nation
- Czech volunteers say second-largest city has broken its agreement by closing camp used by Romani refugees from Ukraine near Grand Hotel
- New handbook describes how to intervene against daily hatred and racism in the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands
- Czech local candidates who quit the "Mayors and Independents" party have secured enough signatures to run as independents
- All candidates for the "Mayors and Independents" party in Czech town are quitting to run as their own group after mayor is told not to run for espousing racist violence
- Czech mayor must either withdraw his candidacy today or be delisted as a candidate by his party ahead of local elections for his racist advocacy of violence against Romani people
- Czech party calls on mayor to withdraw from local election over racist approval of violence against Romani people
- Ukrainians are not the same as Syrians: On double standards for refugees, Czech aid, and breaking the rules while doing good
- Chair of the Czech Pirates says mayor who made racist remarks should be removed from the candidate list "like garbage"