Man dies after Czech police kneel on neck, saying drugs caused his death

Video footage from Teplice is being shared overwhelmingly on social media of the police intervention against a young Roma man who later died in the ambulance called to the scene.

Members of the Roma community compare his death to the death of George Floyd, the black man who was murdered by police in the United States last year.

One of the intervening police officers knelt for several minutes on the man’s neck. The young man later died in the ambulance called to the scene by the police.

Police said their intervention was not the cause of death, but the drugs the Roma man allegedly consumed were the cause of death. Michal Miko, director of the Romanonet organization, posted online that what the video shows is “The height of brutality”.

Michal Mižigár, a Roma history and Roma studies student who won the Aspen Central Europe Leadership Award in 2019 from the Aspen Institute Central Europe, said the footage showed “The Romani Floyd today in Teplice!

Images circulating on social media show three police officers intervening against a young man who continues to try to escape them. One policeman holds the man’s feet, another then kneels on his neck for several minutes.

A third officer helps handcuff the screaming man. Several people who are spectators can be heard in the images commenting on the intervention.

“They are suffocating her”, we can hear the voice of a woman. “It’s their job,” said a male voice, defending police intervention.

“Stay on the ground, don’t get up,” another man advises. According to the spokesperson for the emergency services of the Ústecký region, Prokop Voleník, a fight had been reported between two drug addicts who were then under the influence of drugs.

“When the police patrol arrived at the scene, one of the men fled while the other was overpowered by the police and handcuffed,” police spokeswoman Veronika Hyšplerová told tabloid Blesk .cz. Officers called an ambulance because the arrested man was under the influence of drugs.

“He then died in this condition,” said the police spokesperson, dismissing the idea that the police intervention caused the man’s death. According to former British policeman Petr Torák, MBE, a Roma emigrant from the Czech Republic, if it is too early to draw any conclusions, the situation also reminds him of the death of George Floyd.

“From the video footage it is evident that another person died as a result of police intervention. Is this the Czech version of Floyd’s case? I will follow the investigation closely and hope that if the police officers are found to be at fault, the Czech legal system and the whole of society will condemn this police brutality and hold the police officers accountable, ”said Torák.

Police statement

Just before 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, police responded to a call about an incident on Dubská Street where two men allegedly assaulted each other, damaging someone else’s car. After the patrol arrived at the scene, police found a man lying on the ground shirtless with obvious injuries in U Hřiště Street.

When the police approached the man, he began to behave aggressively, attacking them – he bit one of the colleagues and scratched others. The officers had to use force to restrain him and called an ambulance.

The man was taken to emergency medical attention and subsequently collapsed in the ambulance. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

A doctor recorded the preliminary cause of death as a drug overdose and a court autopsy was ordered to clarify the exact cause of death. Other circumstances of the case are currently under investigation by detectives and staff of the Department of Internal Affairs.

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