In runup to autumn elections, Czech mayor recounts to local assembly the time he said Romani people should be shot
Mayor of Poděbrad Jaroslav Červinka ("Mayors and Independents" - STAN) made racist remarks about Romani people during a local assembly meeting at the end of June and even recounted a time when he said they should be shot. He was reminiscing about the year 2001, when he claims that the head of the district office officially reprimanded him for being a racist.
News server Deník N has reported the case as well as the fact that in a follow-up interview, the mayor apologized for his words while simultaneously alleging that those reporting them to the media had distorted them. Červinka had been reminiscing during the local assembly meeting about an accident that purportedly happened in 2001 and alleged that the police had not wanted to intervene at the time because the accident had allegedly been caused by dogs owned by a Romani man.
"I may be one of just a few mayors, or the only mayor, to have been officially reprimanded long ago by the head of the district office for being a racist. I decidedly do not support inadaptables and that reprimand back then was pretty much just a big joke, because I did what I did in front of a member of the Police of the Czech Republic when a traffic accident was being dealt with that had been caused by dogs owned by one of our Romani fellow-citizens. I showed up, identified the owner, and the police backed away, saying they did not want to address it because a Romani man was involved, and I then said my memorable sentence that it would be better to shoot them. The cop told me that they should not be shot, that the dogs could not help themselves, and I said I didn't mean it was the dogs who should be shot. That was a Friday afternoon. On Monday I was at the police station making a statement about my tendencies to racism and wanting to shoot our fellow-citizens, but that's not absolutely how it was, it was that I wanted it solved, I don't want to have to put up with such things. Clutter, dirt," the mayor said during the local assembly meeting.
The official video recording of the local assembly meeting is mysteriously without any audio during the part where the mayor is telling his story. However, an unedited version of the official video, including audio for that story, has been posted to Twitter.
The mayor began recalling the story when responding to input from local residents complaining about their poor coexistence with a Romani family. In his interview for Deník N he apologized and later posted an apology on Facebook.
"My remark about Romani people 22 years ago was stupid when I said it and also today when I was recalling the matter. I apologize to all who could have been justifiably hurt by it. Anybody who knows me and my actions as head of the town hall knows that I actually do not consider any form of violence to be a solution. Not even hyperbolically," he posted.
The chair of the STAN movement, Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Vít Rakušan, has condemned Červinka's remarks. "Those remarks are absolutely unacceptable to me," he told Deník N, but did not answer the question of whether Červinka would run for re-election in the upcoming local elections.
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