Police officers accused of bullying Roma boys acquitted

The December 4 verdict by a Košice district court is not valid.

Six Roma boys were reportedly bullied by police officers in Košice in March 2009Six Roma boys were reportedly bullied by police officers in Košice in March 2009(Source: TASR)

Police officers who stood accused of reportedly bullying Roma boys in March 2009 at a police station in Košice have been acquitted.

The Košice II District Court issued the verdict, which lifts the charges against nine men and one woman, on December 4, as reported by the TASR newswire.

“It has not been proven that the deed for which the defendants are prosecuted happened,” the senate’s head judge wrote in the verdict.

The latest decision, which thus confirms verdicts from February 2015 and May 2017, is not valid, however.

Prosecutor Rastislav Remeta said he would submit an appeal again.

Video footage

The court, upon an order of the court of appeal, allowed an audio-visual record, which had been sent to the Sme daily, to be presented as evidence.

The district court had refused the video footage before because it had been obtained in a way that violates the Criminal Code. A judge recently said, however, that the video does not provide a sufficient picture of the events that should have occurred at the police station, due in part to the previous cuts made to the video.

“It did not even identify the police officers who allegedly committed the offence in question,” the verdict reads, as quoted by TASR. The court had pointed to discrepancies in witnesses’ statements, too.

Another appeal will change nothing

“It has been a very long time since the deed happened, and we believe that the injured have long been waiting for justice,” said lawyer Vanda Durbáková, who represents the Roma boys.

She added they will be considering other steps to get justice as she expects the regional court in Košice will confirm the December 4 decision, even if the prosecutor appeals.

“The injured party can only appeal against the decision in regards to the claim for damages,” Durbáková added, as quoted by TASR.

Six Roma boys were taken to the police station in Košice on March 21, 2009 because of an alleged robbery of an old woman. According to the video the police are said to have made on their phones, they humiliated and ridiculed the boys. They also forced them to slap and undress each other.

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