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August 19, 2022



Czech Police briefing: It is still unclear where Romani detainee collapsed, police have no other video footage other than what has already been published

24.6.2021 16:39
The briefing on 24 June 2021 by the Czech Police about the intervention against a Romani community member in Teplice on 19 June 2021. (PHOTO:  Czech Television)
The briefing on 24 June 2021 by the Czech Police about the intervention against a Romani community member in Teplice on 19 June 2021. (PHOTO: Czech Television)

Even after today's extraordinary press briefing by the Czech Police it is still unclear where exactly Romani community member Stanislav Tomáš collapsed after Saturday's intervention against him by police officers. According to police, after their intervention Mr Tomáš was placed on a stretcher, carried into an ambulance, and the emergency responders began resuscitating him.

The director of the Ústecký Regional Police Directorate, Jaromír Kníže, failed to specify where the man collapsed, even after being repeatedly questioned by journalists. From the beginning the police have claimed that Mr Tomáš did not collapse until he was inside the ambulance.  

Moreover, compared to previous police claims that Mr Tomáš died in the ambulance, police are now claiming that he did not die until he was in the hospital. They also concentrated on explaining the methods of restraint used during the arrest. 

According to police, the methods used by the patrol during their intervention corresponded to the intensity of what they called the attack. They also said the autopsy did not find any signs of injury to organs or choking, but did find that the man had methamphetamine in his body.  

The officers reiterated their conclusion that the death of Mr Tomáš was unrelated to the intervention by police. Deputy Regional Police Director Zbyněk Dvořák said the grips and holds police used are categorized as among the milder methods available.    

The intervening officers, according to Dvořák, first attempted to communicate with Mr Tomáš, but his aggression increased in response. Dvořák added that the officer who knelt on Mr Tomáš's neck attempted to stop using that restraint more than once, but Mr Tomáš reacted by resisting strongly and there was a danger that he would cause injury to himself and the other officers.   

Saturday's incident is being investigated by police as a drug trafficking offense, for which the sentence is between 10 and 18 years in prison. They are also investigating chrarges of violence committed against a public official and an offense against civic order. 

The Regional Police have asked members of the public to provide them with any video footage that could contribute toward clarifying the incident. They said they do not have any of their own video footage and that there is no footage from any CCTV cameras.

The officers also said that in association with the communications about this incident on social media they are already prosecuting somebody on suspicion of felony threats intended to influence a public authority. Other statements about the case are also being examined.

ryz, ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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