June 23, 2021 11:35 am
Died after a hard arrest, with a policeman who put a knee on his neck to keep him still. The death of a Roma citizen is causing indignation in the Czech Republic, which took place in circumstances that bring to mind the killing of African American George Floyd, which took place in Minneapolis in May 2020 and which triggered the birth of the Black Lives Matters movement.
Some parts of the arrest, which took place on June 19 in the city of Teplice, were immortalized in a video taken from a balcony near the scene, with images that are raising many questions. It was mainly the Roma communities that rose up, denouncing discrimination by the police. Speaking to the BBC, Michal Miko of the Romanonet association states that the death of the man represents “a peak of the brutality” achieved against the Roma in the nation. “If he had already been arrested and had his hands cuffed behind his back, why did they kneel on him for the next three minutes? That’s something I don’t understand,” he said. The police, however, defended themselves by stating that the cause of death was not the arrest and explained that they had to use force because the man had become aggressive after using drugs.
According to the officers, the death occurred in an ambulance and according to the preliminary autopsy the cause of death was an overdose. In another video published by the agents we see the moments before the arrest with the shirtless man who first sees himself lying on the sidewalk and screaming and then stands up and attacks another man before repeatedly hitting a nearby car.
But this version was also contested. “They told me his name was Stanislav and he was about 40 years old. He lived on the street but worked in a nearby supermarket as a security guard. When he saw that another man was demolishing a vehicle, Stanislav tried to intervene. When the police arrived, they threw Stanislav to the ground thinking he was the aggressor, “Jozef Miker, a rights activist for the Roma community, told The Guardian.
As for the causes of death, according to the officers, no policemen remained on his neck for several minutes preventing him from breathing, and the police argue that kneeling on the back of a person deemed dangerous is normal practice. The videos of the arrest, however, are two and one lasting 27 seconds and one of five minutes and 55 seconds, but the entire operation is much longer, so the doubts remain. Only a complete autopsy will clarify them.