Police video footage released in Dudyová case
The case of Monika Dudyová, who was attacked by police officers from the Special Order Unit (Speciální pořádková jednotka – SPJ) when they intervened in front of the Sandra discotheque in Prague 4, seems to be turning around. Prague Police have provided the Romea.cz news server with recordings that confirm her testimony to a great extent, specifically the audio. The video images are dark for the most part and only show part of the police operation.
In the recordings, Dudyová cries out in pain and yells “I can’t breathe”. This confirms testimony that police officers used brute force while handcuffing her, pressing her to the ground until she couldn’t breathe.
Officers are captured on the audio recording saying: “Gimme the cuffs, do you have them? ... Good, I’m holding her down… we’ll just clear her out of here for now so she’s not lying here … let’s carry her to the car … come on, let’s shove her into the back … keep your eyes on her and stay together.” These remarks correspond to Dudyová’s claim that she was placed on the floor of the police van in handcuffs, not on the seat. Throughout the recording Dudyová responds verbally to the police except for one moment, which might be when she fell unconscious due to overwhelming pain, as reported previously by Romea.cz.
Warrant officer Miroslav Kopecký discusses the blow Dudyová struck him with a fellow officer: “What’s on my eye?” “Dude, you’ve got a – someone got you. Who did it?” “She did. I have it on camera.”
However, there is no video recording of the blow, as the camera’s night vision option was not turned on. We wanted to ask Kopecký why he did not turn it on, as well as about other details of the case and his opinion of the entire operation, but he let us know through the Prague Police spokesperson that he has already said everything he has to say about the case to TV Prima and would not be commenting further. His previously broadcast description of the event contradicts Dudyová’s testimony: “For some unknown reason the woman refused to show me her identification and instead punched me in the face… she had massive rings on her fingers, so it was a rather harsh blow and caused lacerations below my eye.”
Police spokesperson Eva Kropáčová did not know why the camera used during the nighttime intervention did not have the night vision turned on. When we asked whether the SPJ has such equipment and whether it is normally used when responding to calls and during operations, she said she believed Kopecký “just happened” to have the camera “attached to the flap on his shirt pocket”.
The footage we received from police does not show the entire course of the operation. The conflict occurred when Dudyová objected to the harsh behavior of police officers towards another person present, Patrik Grundza. The recording does not start until that dialogue began between Dudyová and police.
TV Prima broadcast a report on the incident on Monday 2 August in which it edited the footage to make it seem as if it upheld the police officers’ claims. A comparison of the broadcast version with the original footage shows that the portions of the recordings confirming the truthfulness of Dudyová’s testimony were not included. They were also not reported on in the accompanying commentary.
News server Romea.cz has learned there is other footage of the police intervention from two cameras located above the Sandra discotheque on the wall of the hotel opposite. Police have not yet released this footage to the media.
Police responding to a fight at the discotheque in Prague 4 on the last day of July ended up arbitrarily attacking innocent bystanders. SPJ officers attacked 35-year-old Monika Dudyová, the very person who had urged others to call police when a fight broke out between two groups of Roma. In the course of Monika being physically detained by police, her daughter came to her aid and was assaulted by one of the officers. Monika responded by striking the officer who was detaining her and was then brutalized.
Eva Kropáčová said the SPJ riot units had been sent to intervene because “patrols that arrived to the scene were unable to pacify the situation and the fights were recurring.” However, the testimony of all the eyewitnesses interviewed by news server Romea.cz is that the SPJ did not arrive at the scene until long after those who were fighting had left and the situation was completely calm.
The Czech Interior Ministry defines the Special Order Unit as follows: “As part of ensuring response capability, the SPJ may be used as direct backup for the police services, particularly at locations with the highest incidences of crime or in places where public order is being disturbed… The unit is equipped and trained on a level equivalent to similar units elsewhere in the world. In order to properly carry out its tasks, it is equipped with special technology, uniforms and weapons. For example, the unit has at its disposal new air guns, armed transport carriers, body armor, bullet-proof vests, and submachine guns. SPJ members must undergo special training in command activity, physical and psychological endurance, and police tactics.”
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