Use of tear gas by police was not the cause of death of Štefan I., a 48-year old member of the Roma civic guard in the southern Slovak village of Tornaľa, said Banská Bystrica regional police director Marián Slobodník to the SITA newswire on July 1.
He dismissed allegations that tear gas was the cause of the sudden death of the man, based on the results of an official autopsy. The medical examiner who carried out the autopsy said that it is impossible to associate the cause of central suffocation with the man's death, reported the police officer.The probable reason for the man’s death was cerebral oedema from blood aspiration on high sugar level, says the official report.
Slobodník said that staff at a carnival called the police who took action against Štefan I. for causing a public nuisance. When they appealed to him in vain to stop his activities the police used tear gas on him. Superiors of the police officers who took part in the action said that the use of coercive measures, including tear gas, was justified.
The NGO People against Racism has filed a criminal complaint regarding the case and said it does not mind only what they call neglectful and unprofessional behaviour by the police but also the fact that police documents refer to the man as “Roma”.
The www.aktualne.sk portal reported that the man, who was a member of the Roma civic guard in Tornaľa, asked the carnival staff on May 9 whether they had paid the municipality for electricity they used. A conflict emerged between them and they called police who used tear gas against the man. A forensic expert then allegedly told the dead man's family that his death might have been caused by gradual poisoning caused by an inappropriate volume of tear gas.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
2. Jul 2010 at 10:00