Edited CCTV footage from Czech pizzeria where Romani man died is broadcast, questions remain unanswered
The pizzeria in the Czech town of Žatec where a young Romani man died on 18 October has provided CCTV footage of the incident to the commercial Prima television station, which broadcast some of it on Saturday evening. The management of the restaurant claims it is doing its best to calm the situation by releasing the images.
According to a reportage on the incident broadcast by Prima last Thursday, Mayor of Žatec Zdeňka Hamousová had also previously seen the footage. Since the recordings are still the subject of an investigation, the police should only have shared them with a relative of the deceased, however.
The edited footage broadcast by Prima does not show the young Romani man entering the pizzeria or anybody assaulting him and it is hard to see completely what is happening at many moments. What was broadcast begins at the moment when he is already inside the restaurant and moving, maybe even running, about the pizzeria as a woman in a white sweater runs quickly ahead of him.
The woman runs around the table and puts a chair in between herself and the young man. He does not continue moving toward her, but goes to another table, where a male customer either grabs him or trips him.
The footage next shows the young man either falling down or stopping for a moment before continuing to flee. At that moment, he is apparently just fleeing the other customers who are chasing after him.
What happens next cannot be clearly seen, but the customers seem to stop him and bring him to the ground at the door to the pizzeria. The footage is blurred and unclear, so the intensity with which they bring him to the ground and what happens next cannot be seen at all.
In its reportage, Prima interviews eyewitnesses, all of them non-Romani, who just describe everything the young man is alleged to have done in the pizzeria prior to the customers pacifying him. The eyewitnesses confirm information previously reported by news server Romea.cz, such as the information that the young man visited the pizzeria twice that day and that during his second visit he allegedly assaulted a female customer, apparently the woman in white shown in the footage.
The second visit by the young man to the pizzeria is described by one eyewitness interviewed by Prima as follows: "He sort of burst through the door forcefully, came barreling towards us, and began to attack one of the young ladies." The footage broadcast by Prima, however, does not show that moment.
The other eyewitnesses contacted by Prima allege that nobody in the restaurant ever harmed the young man, or beat him, or kicked him, or insulted him. The Prima reportage also includes statements by the mayor, who was not an eyewitness.
"The intervention was adequate, within the legal limits, it was not at all brutal," the mayor said. While there were also Romani eyewitnesses to this incident, none of them were featured in the Prima reportage.
Reporter Renata Malíková says at the close of the piece that the father of the deceased young man allegedly told her that the family has already given up on pursuing the case. According to information communicated to news server Romea.cz, however, the father of the deceased told the reporter he refused to give a specific statement to Prima in particular.
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