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Kaliňák defends police shooting at students

POLICE officers regularly shoot at civilians, said Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák after the session of the parliamentary committee for defence and security. He was explaining the shooting on D2 highway from June 2013 in which the police fired shots at a car in an attempt to detain a criminal suspected of two murders. Instead, the police detained a group of four students who had nothing to do with the case. The entire operation lasted more than five hours, with the students having no idea as to why they had been stopped and interrogated for much of that time.

POLICE officers regularly shoot at civilians, said Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák after the session of the parliamentary committee for defence and security. He was explaining the shooting on D2 highway from June 2013 in which the police fired shots at a car in an attempt to detain a criminal suspected of two murders. Instead, the police detained a group of four students who had nothing to do with the case. The entire operation lasted more than five hours, with the students having no idea as to why they had been stopped and interrogated for much of that time.

Though Kaliňák admitted the police made a mistake, he did not apologise to the students, the TASR newswire wrote. The interior minister told MPs that the inspection in the shooting revealed two serious mistakes. First, the police officers could have received the information that the car does not belong to the wanted criminal anymore if one of the operational officers was observing the rules. Second, there was no reason for detention of the students who had to spend three hours on the highway, Kaliňák said, as reported by the SITA newswire.

He confirmed that the students will be compensated.

Ľubomír Galko of the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party welcomed that Kaliňák admitted the mistakes and promised a kind of compensation for the students. He however, disagrees with Kaliňák’s claim that the methods the police used were alright as they were looking for a criminal suspect.

“It is the most serious mistake that they were searching for a car that should not have been in the register for long,” Galko said, as quoted by SITA.

Moreover, the MP called it scandalous that the police destroyed a video recording of the police action, saying it will now be difficult to learn the truth. Kaliňák explained to the MPs that the recording was damaged as there was no reason for the police to keep it, as reported by SITA.

“There is no doubt about what is on the video,” Kaliňák said.

Galko wanted the students to be at the session, but other members did not accept the proposal, saying the session is not public.

“This is not an investigation committee,” Kaliňák said, as quoted by SITA.

Karol Spišák, a lawyer of the four students, said that many Kaliňák’s statements were not true. The ministry, for example, did not respond to the letter in which he asked him for meeting. He also said that the students were asking for re-paying the invoice for the damaged car, but police have dismissed it, as reported by SITA.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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