Czech Police confirm local officers did not proceed absolutely correctly in case of gunfire near Romani children's camp
Detectives have again opened the case of the warning shots fired into the air near a children's camp in the town of Jiřetín pod Jedlovou (Děčín district) where Romani children were spending time this summer. The initial approach taken by police in the case was not absolutely correct.
The Czech News Agency reports police spokesperson Jana Slámová as saying the internal affairs department reached that conclusion after being instructed to investigate by Regional Police Director Jaromír Kníže. She also said internal affairs believes the officers who took the call to the 158 emergency line proceeded correctly.
News server Romea.cz was the first to report on the incident, which involved the owner of land adjacent to the camp repeatedly firing into the air and castigating the Romani children from the choral group with racist abuse. "The children made it to the last point in the treasure hunt by about 9:30 PM and they could see the recreation facility from where they were. Naturally, they were glad that they had completed the entire 'mission', so they happily ran down the hiking path, which goes past the house of a person who lives above the recreational cottages where we were accommodated. The children were understandably in high spirits, so they were whooping with delight, but of course it only took them about a minute to run past that house. The gentleman living there sprang to his feet and began to shout at them (and here I apologize for the vulgarisms): 'You black Gypsies!', 'F**k off!', etc. Then he fired his gun into the air," Romani choral leader Ida Kelarová described the incident in August.
The neighbor, according to Kelarová, repeatedly fired his weapon and behaved aggressively directly on the campus of the camp facility. She also said police did not come after she called the 158 emergency line.
The internal affairs investigation did not see a problem with that. "After a thorough investigation we found no record of reports, whether by telephone or verbally, at any of the basic departments of the Děčín Territory Department between 21:30 on 4 August and 9:27 on 6 August 2016 concerning the incidents at the children's camp. We also do not have a record of any reports made via the 158 line from the area of Jiřetín pod Jedlovou," Slámová said.
Slámová said the first person to contact police was the neighbor, who complained of repeated noise from the camp both day and night. "He also said that when he was walking his dog he had fired in the air and that he had been accused by the leader of the choir of shooting at the children. The matter was transferred to police officers from the Varnsdorf District Department," the spokesperson said.
Subsequently, the owner of the camp traveled to the police station. It was only after that, according to police, that those running the camp also called the 158 emergency line.
Slámová said police immediately investigated the case and were in contact with all parties to the conflict. "However, it was ascertained by internal affairs that the first incident, which occurred on 4 August 2016 but was not reported until 6 August 2016, was not thoroughly investigated, the eyewitnesses to that incident were not established, and all persons involved were never properly interrogated," she said.
The case has again been taken up by the criminal police for investigation and completion given those findings. The owner of the property adjacent to the camp told news server Romea.cz that he had been vulgar and used racist abuse.
The owner stated that he was led to expressing his long-term frustration with the constant noise from the camp. "I reject the allegation that I fired my weapon in the camp - I was on my property. During the conflict in the kitchen I said terrible things, but I decidedly did not intend to be racist - it just bothers me that there is noise from the camp for several months at a time," he told news server Romea.cz.
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