Roma Activists Plan Protest Rally on Saturday in Teplice

teplice roma man death
A man lighting up candle Tuesday, June 22, 2021 in Teplice, Czech Republic, in the place where a Roma man died in an ambulance after a police action on Saturday, June 19. – Copyright Hajek Ondrej/AP

On June 19, 2021, in Teplice, a Roma man died in an ambulance after a police action. An autopsy has ruled out the connection between the police action and the death of the man, who was apparently under the influence of narcotics. 

“We can clearly rule out any link between the police intervention and the death,” the local police chief, Jaromir Knize, said. Police added the cause of death was an overdose of crystal meth.

“He had been on psychoactive drugs and had vandalized several cars when he was arrested. As for the arrest, the statement claimed that it had been “carried out in accordance with the law and had no connection with the death of the deceased.”

Three police officers were involved in Saturday’s incident in the northern city of Teplice.

Video footage shows one of them kneeling on the man’s neck for several minutes. The man, who has not been officially named, later died in an ambulance.

Roma activists reject the police explanation and are planning a protest rally on Saturday in Teplice.

“I’m angry,” Jan Duzda, a music producer who is a Roma told The Associated Press in an interview in English “I’m angry because this is not for the first time. It’s really strange,” Duzda said. “My question is why he died?”

Duzda said that when he looked at a video of the incident, he wondered why they needed to restrain the man for so long. “There’s really something wrong.”

He said that attacks on his embattled minority are common in the country, adding: “Treatment from the police side is very, very bad.”

Some compare the incident to the killing of George Floyd, a Black American man who died when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.

Europe´s main human rights body, the Council of Europe, Amnesty International and the government´s envoy for human rights all called for a thorough and independent investigation while the country´s deputy ombudsman said she will launch a separate probe into it.

While police have not concluded their own probe, an independent government agency that investigates crimes committed by police said on Thursday that after assessing available information, it didn´t consider the police action illegal and “therefore will not open a criminal investigation,” the General Inspectorate of Security Forces said in a statement.

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