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Romani family files complaint against Czech investigation of death

13.1.2017 17:13
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)

The family of Miroslav Demeter, who died on 18 October 2016 at a pizzeria in the Czech town of Žatec under still-unclarified circumstances, has filed a complaint against the district State Prosecutor's Office in Louny. The bereaved are convinced, by the course of the investigation to date, that the police are not investigating the case thoroughly because the deceased was dependent on drugs.

The family's complaint points out, for example, that the handling of the crime scene by police was not up to standard and was done quite poorly. A video recording of the incident made by an eyewitness was given to police the day after the incident, but the witness was not summoned to give a statement about it until more than a month later, which the family believes was an unjustifiably long time for the investigators to wait.

There are also suspicions that not all of the eyewitnesses to the death have been identified for questioning. It is also unclear who, on the day Mr Demeter died, gave the police a deceptive description of the event alleging that Mr Demeter died outside the pizzeria after running around the scene in confusion and then falling to the ground and ceasing to breathe for no reason.

That description is now part of the background documentation about the launching of a criminal investigation on suspicion of negligent homicide. It is unclear why that erroneous description of the incident was reported to them.

Furthermore, there are speculations that the people in the pizzeria who pacified Mr Demeter have certain relationships with the local police officers who intervened at the scene. An amateur video of the event taken by a eyewitness with a mobile telephone, as well as a recording from a Municipal Police security camera, both document that at least one of the customers punched the immobilized Mr Demeter as he was prone on the floor in full view of the local police officers.

"We are not giving up and we thank everybody for the suport they have expressed. We want this case investigated by police as it should be and for all of the suspicious circumstances around the investigation and Mirek's death itself to be clarified," the uncle of the deceased, Vladimír Hamouz, told news server Romea.cz.

Questions also remain about how the police communicated with Mr Demeter's family after his death, as news server Romea.cz has been informed that police did not immediately inform his parents about the death of their son and did not allow them to see his body before the autopsy. To this day the property that Mr Demeter had on his person at the time of his death has not yet been returned to his family.

voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Policie, Státní zastupitelství, stížnost, Žatec



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