Romani man dies after Czech Police kneel on his neck, they say drugs caused his death. Romani activists see parallels to George Floyd
Video footage from Teplice, Czech Republic is being massively shared through social media of a police intervention against a young Romani man who later died in the ambulance called to the scene. Romani community members are comparing his death to the death of George Floyd, the Black man who was murdered by police in the USA last year.
One of the intervening police officers kneeled for several minutes on the Romani man's neck. The young man later died in the ambulance called to the scene by police.
Police say their intervention was not the cause of death, but that the drugs the Romani man is said to have used were the cause of death. Michal Miko, director of the Romanonet organization, has posted online that what the video shows is "The height of brutality."
Michal Mižigár, a Romani student of history and Romani Studies who won the Aspen Central Europe Leadership Award in 2019 from the Aspen Institute Central Europe, commented that the footage shows "The Romani Floyd today in Teplice!" Recalling the attack on Romani children at a summer camp run by the Romani musician Ida Kelarová and the death of a Romani man in police custody inside a pizzeria in Žatec, he added: "I feel genuinely powerless and sad. This is not the first case."
The footage circulating on social media shows three officers intervening against a young Romani man who keeps trying to get out from under them. One officer holds the man's feet, another then kneels on his neck for several minutes.
A third officer helps handcuff the man, who is shouting. Several Romani people who are bystanders can be heard in the footage commenting on the intervention.
"They're smothering him," a woman's voice can be heard to say. "That's their job," a man's voice says, defending the police intervention.
"Stay down, don't get up," another Romani man advises. According to the spokesperson for the emergency rescue services in the Ústecký Region, Prokop Voleník, a scuffle had been reported between two drug-addicted people who were under the influence of narcotics at the time.
"When the police patrol arrived at the scene, one of the men fled while the other was subdued by the officers and handcuffed," police spokersperson Veronika Hyšplerová told the tabloid news server Blesk.cz. Officers called an ambulance because the arrested man was under the influence of drugs.
"He then died in that state," the police spokesperson said, rejecting the notion that the intervention by police caused the man's death. According to former British police officer Petr Torák, MBE, a Romani émigré from the Czech Republic, while it is too early to draw conclusions, the situation does remind him of the death of George Floyd as well.
"From the video footage it is apparent that yet another person has died as a consequence of a police intervention. Is this the Czech version of Floyd's case? I will be carefully following the investigation and hoping that if the officers are found to be at fault, the Czech legal system and all of society will condemn this police brutality and hold the officers accountable," Torák said.
Romani community member Emil Voráč, director of the Khamoro organization, has called for protests against police brutality in response to this incident. "Nobody, not even police units, has the right to intervene with disproportionate force that causes a person to lose their life soon thereafter, even a person who might be drug-addicted or have other negative, pathological tendencies. Shouldn't the public be able to be sure that the police units will be professional and proportionate in their intervention?" he asks, calling on all who are bothered by such brutality to take action: "Let's finally lift up our heads and join forces, in these situations at the very least."
- 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
- Football hooligans and neo-Nazis blame all Roma for violent crime and march through Czech town, riot police deployed
- Czech President Zeman marks US Independence Day by calling Black Lives Matter "racist"
- Daniela Abraham: The antigypsyist violence of my childhood is still happening in Central Europe
- As US protests continue against police murder, ROMEA recalls 2016 case of Romani man who died in police custody under circumstances like George Floyd
- Michal Mižigár wins the Aspen Central Europe Leadership Award 2019
- Czech court says police officer who beat Romani worker did not commit a felony
- Czech restaurant chain apologizes to Romani musician for refusal of service
- Czech restaurant says reservations, not racism, were why a Romani group was not seated despite empty tables
- Czech gunman who fired warning shots over Romani children at summer camp has his sentence reduced to a fine
- Stanislava Ondová: The Czech courts use a double standard for non-Roma and Roma, I may emigrate
- Czech prosecutor agrees with police that threat to burn down ROMEA is not a crime
- Czech state prosecutor rejects complaint from family of Romani man who died in presence of police
- Czech prosecutor to review police procedure in case of Romani man who died in pizzeria
- Czech Govt Roma Council discusses death case, Romani representatives express growing sense of danger
- VIDEO: Czech Police proceeded incorrectly, attorney for family of deceased Romani man says
- Czech Police find no crime was committed in death of Romani man last fall
- Czech investigation into death of Romani man in a pizzeria will announce findings at press conference
- Romani family files complaint against Czech investigation of death
- Woman says intercity bus driver in northern Czech town racially abused her and called for the death of all Roma before physically throwing her onto a road
- Czech Police director of the Karlovy Vary Region: Internal Affairs Department investigating video of intervention by police in Sokolov
- Union of Vlax Roma in the Czech Republic files crime report in Stanislav Tomáš's death, calls for special commission in the lower house to investigate
- Justice for Stanislav. Family of the late Romani man from Teplice, Czech Republic publishes obituary, funeral will be Saturday
- VIDEO: "Kneeling on the neck means death" - debut from Romani rapper Filip Šenki in the Czech Republic
- Chair of the Czech Helsinki Committee: Czech society is racist towards Romani people
- Czech Helsinki Committee opens bank account to aid the family of Stanislav Tomáš, who died after intervention by police in Teplice
- European Roma Rights Centre: It may take years to legally resolve the death of Stanislav Tomáš, information cannot be released during an ongoing investigation
- Russia calls for investigation of the death of Stanislav Tomáš after intervention by police in Teplice
- LIVE at 18:00 TODAY - Webinar on police brutality against Romani people with MEP Romeo Franz and director of RomanoNet Michal Miko
- Czech Govt Roma Council adopts resolution calling for investigation of the Teplice case and for the public to be informed
- Family of the late Stanislav Tomáš files crime report against the Czech Police through their attorney