Czech Republic: Police apprehend all assailants in Děčín incident
Since last Thursday the criminal prosecutions of another two men have begun who are thought to have contributed to the brutal assault in front of the Calipso gaming room in Děčín on 30 July. The men have been charged with rioting and failing to provide first aid and were released on their own recognizance; they face up to two years in prison if convicted.
The third aggressor, who reportedly caused the most serious injuries to the victims, was apprehended that same day and now is in custody over concerns that he is a flight risk or might attempt to influence witnesses. The press spokeperson for the Děčín Police, Pavla Kofrová, reported the developments today.
The assailant who is currently in custody is said to have attacked three people in succession. He cause minor injuries to two of them and severe injuries to a third before fleeing the scene of the crime.
"The seriously injured victim is hospitalized in a medical facility," Kofrová said. The defendant in that case faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The Děčín Police worked quickly on the case. Nevertheless, local Roma are speaking up to say that various attacks and incidents had occurred previously involving the aggressor who has now been charged in the Calipso case, but that he was never arrested over any of the previous altercations.
Local Romani resident Roman Horváth also had an unpleasant experience with the assailant and told news server Romea.cz that when police officers handle a conflict between two Romani people, they often take a lax approach. "A couple of days after I filed charges, they called to tell me it had just been a misdemeanor," Horváth said, "and I asked them then: Do you want to see someone else become a victim? Well, you see, here we are. That guy will beat up anyone, it doesn't matter whether they are Romani or white, but in the newspapers they have blown this out of proportion and are saying it was a racist crime. Romani people are now afraid to walk on the streets in this town. They are afraid for their children. This is the worst thing that could have happened."
Some local Romani residents, however, are also posting messages of praise for the police in Děčín on Facebook. Local Romani resident Drahomír Radek Horváth, for example, writes: "I take this news to mean that the work of the Police of the Czech Republic in Děčín and of the agencies active in the criminal proceedings for this case is effective and professional. Their efforts have been crowned with the successful clarification of this case, which happened without any need for my offer of a reward for those who had information about the incident to come forward. Justice has been done for the time being. I believe a precise indictment will follow and that the subsequent verdict will include an adequate punishment."
Miroslav Grajcar also posted a commentary in that spirit: "I'm glad too, but justice will not be done until they are convicted and given a very harsh punishment... otherwise the police deserve praise..." The tense atmosphere in Děčín has been further enhanced by articles in the local paper, "Děčínský deník".
The daily has been publishing one article after another about the situation in the town, which is described as unsustainable and as allegedly caused by Romani people. In the online discussions beneath the articles, racist and xenophobic commentaries have been accumulating, and on Wednesday 13 August an anti-Romani demonstration is scheduled to take place there under the leadership of the notorious north Bohemian con artist Lukáš Kohout.
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