Czech Republic: Anti-Roma demonstrations tomorrow in Duchcov over assault
The case of a brutal assault on a couple from Duchcov by Romani perpetrators is developing helter-skelter, with several new facts coming to light. It seems that two other Romani people, a man and a woman, did their best when arriving on the scene to get the Roma assailants to stop their violence.
The alleged perpetrators have not been taken into custody. Also, a municipal police officer at the scene did not directly aid the victims even after they asked for help and has been fired.
An anti-Roma demonstration is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) in Duchcov. Last but not least, the mayor has issued a generalizing statement about "inadaptables", just like other politicians have done before her. The town has also launched an "inspection" of all Romani households even though the perpetrators have already been identified.
Free to go
As news server Romea.cz previously reported, a married couple were brutally assaulted in the town of Duchcov late on the night of 17 May and were hospitalized. CCTV footage from the municipal police shows a group of five Romani people attacked the couple, kicking and punching them. One of the female assailants was the most aggressive.
"They shouted 'You fucking gadje!' at us. I told them to leave us alone, and that started it," the male victim described the incident. He did not want to go into details. "The police asked me to sign a pledge that I will keep silent until their investigation is complete," he said.
The entire incident was started by the youngest assailant, a 16-year-old Romani boy, who threatened the couple with a stick. The footage captured him jumping onto the prone female victim and kicking her.
"I regret it. I was drunk. I would like to apologize for what I did and for what the others did... You know, I've ruined my own life now. I'm expecting a child. My parents are unhappy, I have to get it together. They won't let me outside now," the juvenile assailant confided to news server iDNES.cz.
The municipal police video shows that two other Romani people who arrived at the scene as the assault was underway, first a woman and then a man, did their best to stop the five attackers. "I ran over there, you can see it on the clip, I grabbed the young guy and threw him in the other direction," the man told TV Nova.
The town has since beefed up its police patrols as a result of the incident and the state police have done the same. The crime was indiscriminately brutal, but none of the suspects are in custody.
"We released all of the suspects on their own recognizance," Daniel Vítek, a spokesperson for the state police in Teplice, told news server Romea.cz. He said police originally detained three men and two women between 16 and 44 years of age.
"We charged them with attempted grievous bodily harm and rioting. Should a court find them guilty, they face imprisonment of between three and 10 years. The juveniles would face sentencing half as long," Vítek said.
Assailants broke a motorcyclist's hand
According to information from a source in Duchcov who does not want to be identified, the assailants are from a wealthy Romani family who own three buildings in the town and recently returned from Great Britain. "On that night they started a total of four arguments on the streets. That family is closed and doesn't really communicate with those around them. Some members have long been arrogant and inconsiderate to everyone else," the source told news server Romea.cz. Our reporters are working to verify this information with other sources.
The Teplický daily has also reported on another of the assailants' improvisations that evening. Two youths who participated in the attack on the couple also tried to steal a motorbike that same night from its owner. During the attempted theft they used violence, breaking the owner's hand. He too ended up in the hospital.
Municipal police officer did not help
TV Nova has reported through its online Tn.cz news server that when the couple sought help at a nearby municipal police station during the attack, they received no protection, which is surprising. "They banged on the door but no one opened it. No one ever came out," the mother of the female victim has revealed.
The police officer inside the station merely called another police patrol to come handle the incident. The unit arrived along with an ambulance several minutes later.
The female victim was then hospitalized. "She has pain in her neck vertebrae and bruises under her hair. Psychologically she is very badly off because she keeps replaying it in her mind, she's afraid," the female victim's mother said.
The superiors of the officer who proceeded incorrectly are evidently aware of his error, which has cost him his job. The victims were personally visited by District Police Director Petr Sytař and Mayor of Duchcov Jitka Bártová. Police have also provided a psychologist to the couple.
"The family is doing badly, not so much in a physical as in a psychological sense. The couple say they were taking a quiet walk through the town and were not bothering anyone. The attack was not preceded by any dialogue," the mayor said after visiting the victims.
From the video footage, however, it is evident that an argument did take place between perpetrators and victims before the assault began. The female victim did her best, in vain, to convince her husband to stop arguing and to leave.
"Against Romani aggressors"
News server iDNES.cz reports that a demonstration "Against Romani aggressors" will be held on the main square in Duchcov tomorrow evening. "That demonstration was convened by individuals," Mayor Bártová said, adding that she had wanted to hold a town meeting where she and the police would explain to local residents the measures the town hall has adopted after the incident, but that those who announced the demonstration were faster. She claimed to have issued a warning against stirring up anti-Romani passions.
However, Mayor Bártová has in fact assisted the incitement of such passions. On the main page of the town's website she has posted the following generalizing statement (please note that the term "inadaptable" is regularly used as a code term for Romani people):
"In the late evening hours of Friday 17 May, a married couple was brutally assaulted in Duchcov on Bří Čapků Street. The perpetrators were detained and the Police of the Czech Republic are investigating. The town leadership is sending an unequivocal message to all inadaptable, lawbreaking persons. We are prepared to use all options to protect the health and property of our citizens and to prosecute aggressive, inadaptable individuals. Municipal police patrols will be enhanced and all other municipal departments will take a common, uncompromising approach toward such persons. Members of the regional riot police will support the Duchcov police officers."
The town has also launched "inspections" of every Romani household on its territory irrespective of whether they were involved with this incident or not. "That neighborhood is now being inspected to a much greater extent by the social welfare department, the Building Works Authority, field social workers and fire inspectors. We want to make it clear that we will not tolerate such behavior," Bártová said.
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