Slovak Rapporteur for Roma on police brutality in Zborov: The intervention was inadequate
Ábel Ravasz, the Rapporteur to the Government of the Slovak Republic on the Romani Community, issued a statement on 25 May about the brutal police intervention in Zborov last month. Among other matters, he said "police officer interventions at the scene of the conflict were inadequate and targeted children and elderly people"; news server Romea.cz is publishing his statement below in full translation.
Statement of Slovak Government Rapporteur Ábel Ravasz on the police intervention in Zborov
What happened in Zborov is not acceptable. According to the available video footage, the police were unable to deal with the situation at the scene.
The entire intervention gives the impression of being nothing but chaos. According to the information we were originally provided about this incident, the situation was caused by a dispute between two brothers that grew into an exchange of physical assaults.
We were initially told that because the conflict had been followed by the entire community, the police patrol called to the scene had been unable to reach the main actors. From this video footage it is apparent that the police did reach them and that the police officers' interventions at the scene of the conflict were inadequate and targeted children and elderly people.
I understand the situation in Zborov was tense, but police officers should be able to deal with such situations without using force unnecessarily. Such incidents destroy citizens' faith in the police force.
Unmanaged situations like this make the jobs of other police officers even more difficult. We believe the Inspectorate will investigate this incident thoroughly and will draw a clear conclusion about it.
We will be informing the public about the course of the investigation as it unfolds. Yesterday we also issued our call for the establishment of neighborhood watch patrols.
This will be a revival of a previously successful project called Roma Civic Patrols. Within the framework of this project we already know how to support the work of more than 450 field workers for three years.
It is precisely their work in marginalized communities that can aid us with preventing unnecessary conflicts like this. Increasing the number of Roma on the police force is one of our specific aims.
To achieve that aim, a new, two-year education program for future police officers may make a contribution. The director of the police academy in Pezinok, Ladislav Dovičovič, recently discussed that in an interview.
I would like to quote his words, which express both the position of and the strong sense of responsibility felt by members of the Police Force toward society, and with which I absolutely agree: "Police officers are here to aid and protect people. Most of them get this, but out in the world they can become bent out of shape. Their work environment forces them into such situations. Police officers should be so mentally educated and strong, though, that nobody can ever provoke them."
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