VIDEO: Czech ticket-checker assaults Romani boy, removes children from bus, police tell commuter not to film it
Yesterday's morning commute by children attending the Trmice Primary School was made unpleasant by an incident on a public transportation bus managed by the City of Ústí nad Labem when a ticket-checker physically assaulted a Romani boy and removed several other children from a bus. The children all had valid tickets.
The reason the ticket-checker interrupted their travel, according to eyewitnesses, is because they were wearing backpacks on their backs. The situation was captured by another commuter using a mobile telephone.
The video recording also captures audio of a municipal police officer telling the commuter to put the phone away. Police are not lawfully allowed to prevent anybody from filming in such a situation.
The transport conditions of the Usti nad Labem Transport Company do actually state that it is forbidden "to move about and be transported in a public transportation vehicle with a backpack or any other baggage on one's back". The video was published yesterday to the Facebook social networking sight and clearly documents that by the time the footage was taken, some of the children who were ordered to get off of the bus were not wearing any baggage on their backs.
The boy whom the ticket-checker attempted to force off the bus by using an excessive physical intervention was not wearing anything on his back at the time either. The ticket-taker is captured on video urging the boy, who is on his way to school, to disembark, telling him: "I said you get out."
When the boy, speaking calmly, refuses to get off of the bus, the woman grabs him roughly by the hand he is using to holding onto a support device with and does her best to pull his hand away from it. The person filming the video stands up for the boy at that moment, saying: "Don't touch him, you are not allowed to do that."
The local police officer who was present responds to the person who is filming, saying "Put that [the phone] away," even though he was unauthorized to say any such thing. The footage also includes audio of the ticket-checker shouting that the bus will not continue its journey until the boy gets off.
She also calls on several other children from the little group to leave the bus. All of the children did eventually get off of the bus.
When the person filming them asks "How will they get to school?" neither the police officer nor the ticket-checker responds. In the background the terrified voice of another child can be heard repeating over and over how afraid he is.
The police officer concludes his intervention by mocking the youth who is filming them and telling him to put his video on YouTube. News server Romea.cz contacted the Usti nad Labem Transport Company about the incident but had not yet received a response by yesterday evening.
When is it possible to film a situation in public in the Czech Republic?
Filming persons who are not public officials is regulated by the Civil Code, according to which it is only possible to film a person in such a way that his or her identity can be determined when one has his or her permission. Further regulations of the law, of course, specify situations where it is possible to film somebody without such permission.
These are situations where the footage is produced during the exercising or protection of other rights, or where the interests at issue are protected by law - i.e., for purposes of evidence to be submitted in court (e.g., footage of an assault, a car accident, etc.). As far as filming persons who are acting as officials (public officials) on behalf of an administrative body in an administrative (misdemeanor) proceeding - e.g., a police officer - the administrative code does not expressly state whether a participant in an administrative proceedings is authorized to film the verbal communications involved in such a proceedings or not.
For that reason, it is possible to proceed according to the principle of public law that "what is not banned is permitted". That means an official cannot prevent the filming or, for example, threaten sanctions against somebody filming, as long as the course of the proceedings at issue is not somehow disrupted by the filming.
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