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Czech Republic: Young Romani man has died after a scuffle, no charges filed yet

20.10.2016 20:32
On Tuesday, 18 October 2016 at around 19:00 a conflict occurred between customers at a pizzeria in Žatec, Czech Republic, one of whom, a young Romani man, died afterward. (PHOTO: still from eyewitness video)
On Tuesday, 18 October 2016 at around 19:00 a conflict occurred between customers at a pizzeria in Žatec, Czech Republic, one of whom, a young Romani man, died afterward. (PHOTO: still from eyewitness video)

On Tuesday, 18 October at around 19:00 a conflict took place among customers at a pizzeria in the Czech town of Žatec, one of whom, a young Romani man, died afterward. Local police officers intervened during the scuffle.

As it is not clear what the cause of death was, police are waiting for the results of a court-ordered autopsy and have yet to charge anybody. "I can confirm that on 18 October at around 19:00 a young man (born in 1989) suddenly died in the building of the Pizzeria on Masarykova Street in Žatec after emergency responders failed to revive him. The court has ordered an autopsy to ascertain the actual cause of death. Police officers are intensively working on the case," Jaromíra Střelcová, spokesperson for the state police in Louny, told news server Romea.cz.

While it remains unclear how the incident unfolded, news server Romea.cz is informed that the young Romani man allegedly behaved aggressively after arriving at the pizzeria. According to several eyewitnesses, he could have been under the influence of drugs.

Allegedly he approached a table where several girls were sitting and bothered them. According to one version of what transpired, an employee of the establishment allegedly kicked the young Romani man in the neck.

The staffer is said to be a devotee of martial arts. According to another version of events described to news server Romea.cz by eyewitnesses, another customer assaulted the Romani man, kicked him, and then four other customers attacked him as well.

Reportedly all of the alleged perpetrators are martial arts enthusiasts. Local police are then said to have arrived at the scene and allegedly to have beaten the Romani youth also, as a result of which he apparently collapsed.

News server Romea.cz has obtained two video recordings from people who were at the scene, but they do not show the incident itself. The footage was filmed by young Romani boys from Žatec who were there.

The first video shows many people, including local police officers, holding the young Romani man on the ground as he moans in pain. The other video shows the youth being given CPR.

"They beat him like a dog," commented one of those who filmed the scene. On the audio track accompanying one video clip, an eyewitness can be heard saying:  "He was high, he slithered over to the table and began chasing after the women there."

"I wanted to call the cops," another young Romani man can be heard saying in the clip. Miroslav Solar, Chief of Police in Žatec, did not want to comment on the course of the incident to news server Romea.cz in detail, but did confirm that two municipal patrolmen intervened at the scene.

"The cause and progression of the incident is the subject of a police investigation," he told news server Romea.cz. When contacted by news server Novinky.cz, however, Solar rejected speculation that the police intervention could have caused the young man's death.

"The municipal police assisted there, they were there at the time, but it's not the case that the death occurred after their intervention. The entire matter is now being investigated by the state police, they are assessing the physical evidence and CCTV footage," Solar told Novinky.cz.

"Police officers have secured CCTV footage from the scene of the incident," Střelcová confirmed to news server Romea.cz, adding that nobody has been arrested or charged in connection with the incident. News server Romea.cz will report on developments in the case as they arise. 

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Kriminalita, Policie, rvačka, úmrtí



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