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September 18, 2021

 

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EXCLUSIVE: Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, is on edge. Romani youth was assaulted and his jaw broken, but police dissuaded him from filing a crime report

14.6.2021 14:11
Shortly after two well-publicized incidents in the Czech town of Hradec Králové in which Romani youths were filmed assaulting a non-Romani man, several physical and verbal attacks have been committed there against Romani people as well, but the media has not yet reported about them. One of the Romani youths so attacked has sustained a broken jaw. The next day a neo-Nazi demonstration was allowed to be held in the town to which riot units were deployed. (PHOTO:  ROMEA TV)
Shortly after two well-publicized incidents in the Czech town of Hradec Králové in which Romani youths were filmed assaulting a non-Romani man, several physical and verbal attacks have been committed there against Romani people as well, but the media has not yet reported about them. One of the Romani youths so attacked has sustained a broken jaw. The next day a neo-Nazi demonstration was allowed to be held in the town to which riot units were deployed. (PHOTO: ROMEA TV)

The situation between some non-Romani and Romani residents of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, remains tense. ROMEA TV has learned that after the two recent incidents of violence with which police have charged three Romani youths, several physical and verbal attacks have been committed against local Romani people.  

One of the Romani victims suffered a serious facial injury, but his case has been classified as a misdemeanor. What's more local police denied him his right to file a crime report over the incident.

Romani community members condemn violence, Czech media are reporting inaccurately

In the ROMEA TV report, Romani residents of Hradec Králové condemn all violence, describe the circumstances of the incidents for which the three Romani youths have been charged, and also describe facing attacks and insults more now than ever before. According to the Romani residents, the local police are downplaying such cases when the victims are Romani.   

The Romani victims are also pointing out that a video released by police as part of their search for the Romani youths who perpetrated an attack against a non-Romani man was framed in a biased way and is also partly to blame for exacerbating the situation in Hradec Králové. On 5 June an anti-Romani demonstration was then held in the town by football hooligans and neo-Nazis.  

According to ROMEA TV, police managed to apprehend the three Romani youths suspected of physically assaulting the non-Romani man thanks to Romani community assistance. The Czech media has reported in a biased way about that incident, incorrectly describing it as having been groundless and unprovoked.

Eyewitnesses say the non-Romani man first shouted racist abuse at the Romani youths, however. "We are unequivocally against violence, I think I am speaking for all Romani people when I say that, but that video does not show the full picture of what happened. He was the one who first began to shout racial abuse at them," Milan Ferenc of Hradec Králové told ROMEA TV.  

A relative of the arrested suspect described the course of the incident similarly. "That [football] fan began verbally attacking them here at the newsstand, he began to take off his coat, he shouted that Hradec belongs to 'them'," she told ROMEA TV. 

"The media have not informed the public about the entire incident in precise detail, what preceded it, why it happened. The media just showed the footage of the Romani guy kicking somebody, that's all. Shouts of 'g*psies to the gas', 'we will kill you', 'we will burn you to death', are already being heard here," Ferenc said. 

Assaulted Romani youth has a broken jaw

Shortly after the two incidents in which the assailants were Romani people, several physical and verbal attacks were committed in Hradec Králové against Romani people. The Czech media has not reported on any of those incidents.   

One of the physical assaults happened on the day prior to the neo-Nazi demonstration, and the Romani youth who was attacked on that occasion now has a broken jaw. However, the police assessed that incident as a misdemeanor, without ever consulting the medical report on the victim's injuries.

Moreover, when the Romani victim visited police to report the crime perpetrated against him, they refused to allow him to do so. "A bunch of young people were walking down the street, three girls and some guys, I don't know exactly, because I was looking at the ground. I did my best to avoid them and suddenly I heard a guy say 'Hey those are my girls' and somebody hit me out of the clear blue sky. After that first blow I must have been unconscious for a while and I snapped out of it when they next kicked me in the face," the Romani youth described the assault.

According to Hradec Králové police spokesperson Magdaléna Vlčková, a police patrol arrived at the scene after the Romani youth called them and proceeded to test him for intoxication, measuring 1.68 parts per thousand of blood alcohol. "The person who called the patrol said he felt fine and did not ask for medical treatment," the police spokesperson told ROMEA TV.   

The Romani man who was attacked confirms that account. "At that moment I panicked a bit, I believed it was no big deal," he told ROMEA TV. 

Later on, however, the assault victim did have to get medical treatment. "I have four screws in my jaw, I can't eat. I have to suck all my food through a straw," the Romani victim told ROMEA TV, adding that he next attempted to file a crime report against an unidentified perpetrator.

"The police talked me out of filing a crime report," the Romani victim said. ROMEA TV has an audio recording of that interaction during which the officers claim to the victim that the entire matter has already been reported as a misdemeanor to the municipality.   

"What about this don't you understand?" one officer arrogantly asks the victim and the friends who accompanied him to the police station. A friend of the assaulted Romani man described to ROMEA TV how dissatisfied she was with their attempt to file a crime report:  "He [the victim] has signed nothing, he has given no testimony, they haven't even seen his medical report. Without seeing any of that, they just quickly rushed to resolve it and to throw it over to the town hall." 

The police spokesperson has also admitted that the officers made a mistake in that regard. "The officers informed him of the option of reporting it to the administrative body, but at the same time he should have had the opportunity to file a crime report," she told ROMEA TV.   

"Black swine! Black swine!" chanted the anti-Romani demonstration. Police failed to intervene

No Czech media outlet has reported about the assaults that have been committed against Romani people in Hradec Králové, but the demonstration by football hooligans and neo-Nazis that happened on 5 June there was broadly covered. Most of that coverage failed to mention that racist slogans were chanted at the demonstration. 

For example, the CNN Prima News television station included a video clip of the demonstrators at the moment when they were chanting "Black swine! Black swine!" However, editors did not include the audio track along with the video and did not report on the racist chants elsewhere in the piece.

ROMEA TV has seen the clip in its entirety, with sound. The police did not address the racist shouts as they were underway.  

"Because children were present among the protesters, we did not intervene, instead we chose to go the route of allowing that to happen while we documented it," the police spokesperson said, adding that she would like to see the footage of that part of the demonstration to which ROMEA TV has access. As for the Romani residents of Hradec Králové, they have told ROMEA TV that they hope the situation will calm down as soon as possible.

"I have a ton of friends who are Czechs, good friends who feel badly for me and are sticking by me," the Romani victim of the recent attack told ROMEA TV. "I hope this will all be resolved somehow." 

brf, ryz, sam, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Hradec Králové, Média, Napadení, Násilí



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