Police Brutality in Romani Settlement Budulovská, Slovakia


„According to media and NGO reports, in the afternoon of 19 June 2013, 63 police officers entered the settlement in Budulovská Street aiming to carry out an investigation into “increased criminal activity”. The police action reportedly resulted in injuries to over 30 individuals who – according to the media and the community activists – did not resist or obstruct the police.

Among the injured were reported to be young children. An NGO that runs a community centre in the settlement, ETP Slovakia, provided further information about damages to the properties of the settlement’s residents. The police allegedly failed to communicate or explain to the residents the purpose of the action. Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre learned that they were entering individual houses, kicking out doors and breaking windows.

Under international human rights law and standards, the use of force by the police must be proportionate, lawful and necessary. The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms specify that police may use force or firearms only where unavoidable and proportionate to a legitimate objective.“ (…)

„Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre are also concerned about the announcement that the police aim to continue carrying out similar interventions, “especially in areas with a reported rise in criminality”. The areas quoted by the media as possible targets for future interventions are known for their Romani settlements.“

„After the end of official activities at 5.30 pm, an informal celebration continued.
The event and the follow-up celebration took place approximately 1,5 km from the town’s residential area.
In the evening hours, a police patrol of the Municipal Police arrived at the place and did not identify any problems and promised support in case it would be needed. In the late night hours (around 11 pm), members of Slovak state Police Force arrived and requested the music volume to be turned down.
Their request was complied with. This patrol returned to the site once more, in early morning hours, when the celebration had finished and the organizers were disassembling the equipment.
One of the police force members attacked juvenile Leonard H., verbally referring to allegedly “unsettled matters from the past”.

A skirmish ensued between the settlement inhabitants and the police force members, which included throwing rocks at the police vehicle resulting in a broken window. Two persons (juvenile Leonard H. and handicapped Ernest R.) were arrested and taken to the police station in Košice, where they were held until Wednesday 19 June 2013. On the same Wednesday afternoon, around 5 pm, members of the Police Force arrived in the settlement Budulovská with approximately 20 vehicles (cca. 50 masked police force members). Without any announcement or communication with the inhabitants, they began searching the houses. The inhabitants of the settlement put up no resistance during the intervention.

During the intervention, more than 30 persons were injured,including a few weeks old infant, who fell unconscious and had to be treated by medical emergency unit and hospitalized (the exact source of child’s injuries is unknown). Several inhabitants had to seek medical attention and marks of being hit by police batons are visible even in small children. Moreover, the intervention caused significant damage to housing and property of the inhabitants (broken doors and windows, furniture, vehicle damage).
Around 15 people were arrested and taken to the police station in Moldava nad Bodvou, where the members of the Police Force made further physical assaults against them.
Subsequently, the people were released.“

Police_Brutality_Slovakia8         Police_Brutality_Slovakia7


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