Czech police officer claims to have filmed journalists "staging" migrants drowning, his superiors see nothing wrong with that
Czech Police officer Marek Chrastina of Šumperk, Czech Republic, went to Crete on vacation in July and filmed a video on the beach there which he shared through online social networks. The footage went viral mainly by being re-posted through Czech-language anti-immigrant, disinformation websites.
Chrastina posted that he had allegedly filmed journalists staging the drowning of migrants and that his footage was proof of how the media is manipulating the public about such matters. In reality, the people he filmed were part of a docudrama crew staging a re-enactment of a 1922 fire which Greeks had to flee.
The hoax that was born from Chrastina's vacation has now been investigated by the Czech Police Inspectorate. Its decision is that the behavior of Chrastina (who is a fan of the ultra-nationalist "Freedom and Direct Democracy" or SPD movement) has not damaged the reputation of the Czech Police.
"After assessing all the circumstances of this matter, the investigation was closed with the finding that the officer's behavior has not endangered the good reputation of the Police of the Czech Republic," Olomouc Regional Police spokesperson Jiřina Vybíhalová told news server iROZHLAS.cz. Chrastina's comments posted along with the footage were as follows: "Here you have it, the poor guys... The poor refugees. This is exactly how what they show on television functions. It's worthy of [Nazi propagandist] Goebbels. The director is filming how migrants are drowning in the sea."
Chrastina's footage was also investigated by reporters from Agence France-Presse (AFP) and the German website Correctiv.org, both of which came to the unambiguous conclusion that his description of it did not present the truth. Those investigators tracked down the film's director, Eleni Vlassi, and ascertained that neither she nor her cameraman work for any news agencies.
Vlassi and her cameraman are filmmakers and were preparing a docudrama entitled "Land of the Suffering Virgin Mary". The AFP reporters even provided clips from the docudrama to Chrastina.
The Czech weekly RESPEKT published the information that Chrastina is a member of the police force, and he told them he does not intend to apologize for having posted the footage, adding: "I still see this all a bit differently, you should read what AE News reports about it." He also said he had been advised by AE News - a disinformation server that is pro-Kremlin - not to apologize to the director until after he sees the entire docudrama.
"I'm waiting until I see the documentary. I don't believe anything I haven't seen myself," Chrastina said.
The footage taken by Martin Chrastina on his vacation in Crete:
The trailer for the documentary "Land of the Suffering Virgin Mary", including the footage that Chrastina saw being filmed and misrepresented:
- Czech Police receive complaints about elections, not yet clear whether vote-buying happened
- Czech local election billboards referencing "riff-raff" reported to police
- Czech Inspector-General prosecuting two police officers for torturing Romani man into a false confession
- Czech Police charge right-wing extremists who assaulted citizens of India
- Czech media, police accuse Romani family of inciting brawl with non-Roma at children's pool, Romea.cz first to report the Romani mother's testimony
- Czech Police refute rumors that defecation in public pool was done by Roma - defamatory article sparked a racist wave online
- Czech Police charge young woman over hateful online speech against first-graders
- Czech Police refuse immediate comment about extremist stickers on bus used to transport 280 arrested environmental activists
- Czech court acquits police officer, says use of force against Romani harvester was legal, state to appeal
- Czech Police respond to incident between NGO social workers and Romani parents about impending evictions
- Czech Police propose indicting football fans who assaulted African man on a Prague tram for racist reasons
- Czech Police apprehend youth who desecrated Romani genocide memorial with pig's head
- British and Czech Police cooperate to arrest suspected human traffickers
- Czech Police intervene after ultra-right attacks those opposed to neo-Nazism in Plzeň
- Czech Police indict bodybuilder who praised shooting of Romani man and made his own death threats
- Czech Public Defender of Rights says police failed in their response to shooting at children's camp
- Czech Police arrest two Romani men for attack on police, confirm media exaggerated the incident
- Romani children from choir whose summer camp was shot at write to Czech PM, Police, seeking apology
- Brutal assailant attacks Romani woman in front of her children, Czech Police can't get their stories straight
- Czech Police officer explains why he donated to Romani Scholarships
- Slovak Interior Ministry Inspectorate begins prosecution of officer who assaulted Romani children
- Patrik Banga: Police officer who beat Romani children in Slovakia must be fired, he relied on "cigoši" not complaining
- Slovak President asks for explanation of incident in which police officer brutalized young children in Romani settlement
- Romanian chief of local police filmed beating handcuffed Romani men as they lie on the ground
- Slovak MEP from Romani community strongly condemns police beating of Romani children in quarantined settlement as unacceptable
- Slovak police officer said to have beaten five Romani children in Krompachy settlement and threatened to shoot them
- Czech media falsely accuse Romani mourners of breaking the law after cemetery employee calls police
- Slovak Police engage in yet another dubious intervention against Romani man who was smoking in front of his home without a face mask
- Czech Interior Ministry centre refutes most frequent disinformation about COVID-19 online
- MEP Peter Pollák: I'm filing a motion with the Slovak Police Inspectorate over the intervention in the Romani community of Bardějov
- Slovak police harshly intervene against Romani people in Bardějov, make three arrests
- Disinformation about COVID-19 in Czech first spread from Russian server, according to new analysis