Czech Police charge adults who assaulted Romani children with three felonies including racial defamation
Czech Police have charged the man and woman accused of assaulting Romani children earlier this year in the town of Lipník nad Bečvou (Přerov district). The three felony counts include defamation of a nation, race, ethnic or other group of people.
If convicted, the accused face up to five years in prison. The incident happened at the beginning of April in the park of a local chateau.
Police say the duo attacked five Romani children, two of whom had to receive medical treatment in hospital after the incident. Police are continuing to work on the case, according to spokesperson Miluše Zajícová.
The case was initially investigated as a misdemeanor against civil coexistence but was later re-categorized as felony attempted battery and disorderly conduct. Eventually the duo was also charged with respect to the alleged racial motivation for their behavior.
"During the first 10 days of the month of May the Police Commissioner has begun the criminal prosecution of two persons, a man and a woman, who were accused of felony battery, disorderly conduct, and defamation of a nation, race, ethnic or other group of persons, for which the Criminal Code establishes a maximum punishment of five years in prison. The investigation in association with this incident is ongoing and therefore we will not be communicating any additional information about the case until it is closed," Zajícová said in an e-mail sent to news server Romea.cz.
The case happened on 7 April and the children's parents reported the incident to police. "Five children total are said to have been assaulted. The parents of two children arranged for them to be treated in hospital, where one child received a one-time examination and the other remained there for observation," the police spokesperson said previously.
News server Romea.cz reported that the man allegedly punched the children in the chest and face, and according to eyewitnesses he even kicked one child in the chest. A 14-year-old boy ended up in hospital with a concussion and a bruised back, one girl with injuries to the thoracic cavity, and a 12-year-old girl with spinal bruising and a broken nose, Romea.cz reported.
The incident sparked tensions in the town and police collaborated with the local council to calm the situation as well as with a specialist on Romani issues and a crime prevention assistant. Mayor Miloslav Přikryl called the attack an isolated incident.
At the time the mayor told the Czech News Agency that local police had increased their patrolling of what he called "problematic locations". Local representatives met with police, the Romani adviser, foot patrol units, the Social Affairs Department and Romani activists, according to the mayor.
That cooperation was confirmed to news server Romea.cz by field worker Ivan Kandráč. "I regularly communicate with some of the parents of the children who were assaulted. Regional Coordinator Renata Köttnerová is in contact with the liaison officer for ethnic minorities. The aim of the cooperation is to keep the Romani community informed and to prevent inter-ethnic tensions from growing," he told news server Romea.cz.
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