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Elite Czech Police units overdoing harsh interventions against minorities

Brno, 28.7.2011 18:43, (ROMEA)
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Six members of an elite police unit in Brno, Czech Republic calling itself "Delta Team" have been competing among themselves and provoking one another to perform harsh interventions. Their actions have included unjustified aggression toward minorities and the humiliation of detainees. The police officers have even taken trophy photographs showing their victims bloodied and naked.

Czech Television reports that the Police Inspectorate has been monitoring the team's activities for more than a year, resulting in only one instance of punishment so far. Detectives have determined the officers were acting under the influence of Nazi ideology and are said to have been attempting to bolster their feeling of superiority by committing the brutality.

Command has evidently failed in the case of these six officers and their brutal procedures, according to Dušan Brunclík, the deputy minister entrusted with managing the Police Inspectorate, who spoke on the program "News and Commentary" ("Události, komentáře"). The team's activities in the field involved unjustified aggression against minorities and competing to see who could perform the harshest intervention or humiliation of detainees. However, in 2009 these aggressive police overdid it when a detained foreign citizen did not survive their attacks.

Martin Foltýn, alleged to be the boss of "Delta Team", says the allegations are fiction. "The whole 'Delta Team' thing is just one big artificial piece of nonsense. Those interventions were performed according to the same standards whether the perpetrators were white, black or yellow…," he claims.

According to the Police Inspectorate, commanding officers lost control of the so-called "Delta Team". "In my opinion, the commanding officers failed in their monitoring activity. On the other hand, it has to be said that people with these tendencies usually give more than 100 % to the performance of their tasks, so they seem like perfect police officers," Brunclík said.

"Processes to pre-empt this must be established, especially in the security forces. There can't be an official keeping an eye on every police officer or patrol. This has to do with a certain degree of responsibility," explained the Deputy Director of the Zlín Region Police, Jaroslav Vaněk.

According to the Inspectorate's conclusions, the six police officers from South Moravia used unacceptable brutality when intervening against foreigners and minorities in order to buttress their sense of superiority. In 2009, a man named Hoang Son Lam, aged 43 and weighing less than 100 pounds, did not survive an intervention by three "Delta Team" members in the center of Brno.

The perpetrators of that incident have been sentenced, but some of their sentences have not yet taken effect. Given the amount of time that passed between the commission of the crime and the lodging of the complaint, only one member of the rest of the squad has been disciplined, and two of the "Delta Team" police officers are still serving in the intervention units in Zlín region. The court has yet to rule on compensation for Lam's surviving relatives.

Gwendolyn Albert, ČT24, lidovky.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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