Slovak Interior Minister meets with Romani MPs from governing party about police brutality incident, blames parents of the victims
Slovak Interior Minister Roman Mikulec posted to social media yesterday afternoon that he had met with Romani community members who are national legislators with the governing OĽaNO party, Slovak MP Peter Pollák, Jr., Slovak MP Jan Herák and Slovak MP Jarmila Vaňová, to discuss the case of the Romani children who were assaulted in Krompachy. "At the beginning of the meeting I told them that the information I have is not the same as the media's presentation of those events," the minister posted.
Mikulec was apparently referencing the fact that law enforcement is refusing to take responsibility for the incident and blaming the parents of the children. "What we can say for certain is that the minors had escaped the quarantined settlement," said Mário Pažický, spokesperson for the Special Operations Forces, according to news server Noviny.sk.
"The question now remains as to the kind of care their parents are giving them - they did not have them under control, which is their duty. The solider from the patrol fulfilled his obligations 100 % and according to our information did not come into physical contact with the children," the spokesperson said.
The Czech News Agency has reported that a Slovak Army medic who examined the children is downplaying the seriousness of their injuries, saying they did not appear to be fresh and involved surface scratches. The Interior Ministry, despite that allegation, claims to have assured the MPs that the case has immediately begun to be investigated by the Inspection Authority of the Interior Ministry, which will investigate the entire matter thoroughly, and also said the MPs expressed appreciation for that.
"We gave the minister information and also asked that the case be properly investigated," said MP Vaňová after the meeting. Mikulec said that "I am assuring the MPs and the entire public that I will take a personal interest in the findings of the investigation, and at the same time I want to ask all activists and bloggers to reserve judgment."
"It is always easiest to immediately accuse somebody of something, but that's not the correct way to proceed. Only through our combined efforts can we build a prosperous country where facts will win out over opinions," Mikulec said.
In the Romani settlement in Krompachy, which is now under quarantine, a police officer is said to have used a truncheon to beat five young children on Monday, and according to the children's testimonies, he even threatened to shoot them. The reason is said to have been that the children were collecting wood and playing outside the quarantine zone.
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