The Council of Europe (CoE) is calling for an immediate investigation into the death of Romani man Stanislav T. in Teplice, who died on Saturday after a police operation. According to an international organization, the event raises a number of questions which have been compared to George Floyd’s death in the U.S.
The Czech government is backing the police and police officials have also responded.
“No Czech Floyd,” said the police, rejecting accusations on social media.
The incident took place on Saturday in Dubská Street in Teplice. Police arrived at the location due to a skirmish between two men, one of whom aggressively attacked the other. In the video, the man who eventually passed away, is seen shirtless, punching a car, and lunging for another man.
Czechia’s deputy ombudsman Monika Šimůnková also wants to look into the case.
After the men was detained, he was taken to the hospital by medical personnel, but died in an ambulance. According to the autopsy report, the police intervention is not responsible for the man’s death, but the amount of drugs in his body.
Video from the police intervention began circulating on the Internet on Monday. It shows that the man resisted and shouted, and the police used coercive measures against him. The Romea organization, among others, criticized the police for kneeling on the detained Roma for several minutes.
The video was also watched by Hlidaci Pes, a Czech online investigative journalist from Watchdog. He said that the video shows police mostly resting their knees on the man’s shoulder blades and not his neck. He said this is standard procedure for restraining a suspect. He said the officer also releases his knee from the man several times in the video.
The Council of Europe’s appeal for an investigation was announced in a press release on Wednesday by a spokesman for the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe. According to the CoE, the footage from the incident is “disturbing”.
“The Council of Europe is calling for an urgent, thorough, and independent investigation into the recent death of a Romani man in the Czech Republic after he had been apprehended by the police. Footage taken on June 19 from Teplice, Czech Republic, showing police intervention against a Romani man who later died in an ambulance is alarming and raises numerous questions about the circumstances of this tragic incident,“ said spokesman Daniel Höltgen in a statement.
The largest minority
“Roma are Europe’s largest minority and the Council of Europe has a long-standing role in working with governments and the Roma community to protect Roma people from discrimination and to promote their integration and participation in society,” said a spokesman for the organization which, among other things, seeks to maintain and develop fundamental human rights and freedoms.
The Deputy Ombudsman also intends to deal with the case. In an interview with the Romea server, Monika Šimůnková said she would launch an own-initiative inquiry into the adequacy of the use of coercive measures by intervening police officers. According to her, the results should be known in a matter of weeks or months.
Title image: Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against the COVID-19 preventative measures downtown Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have again jumped to record levels amid new restrictive measures imposed by the government to curb the spread. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)