Police Brutality Investigated

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, within the context of its Roma Program, is providing legal assistance to a woman and her child, who were manhandled by the police and have issued a formal complaint, as well as the man who rushed to their assistance. The Miskolc Detective District Attorney has ordered an investigation on the suspicion of violent misuse of authority.

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union has information that such cases, in which in some communities in Borsod county, a few police officers threaten and bully Roma people – including women and children – for no good reason, happen often. The victims are afraid to denounce them in most cases.

In the Criminal Book of Law, 226 § (1) clearly states that an authority figure  who commits assault during an official procedure commits a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.

According to the woman and other eyewitnesses, the affair happened in the following way:

On a day near the end of May, in a village in Borsod county, the woman, who would later be assaulted, was on her way home with two other women and five children from a birthday party.

Suddenly they became aware of the fact that a police car with two police officers was following them. The driver of the vehicle rudely ordered them to be silent, and started insulting one of the women. Later, he got out of the car and, in the midst of his insults, requested the personal identification papers of those present.

The woman who would later denounce the police had no identification papers on her person, so she proposed to retrieve them from her home, which was approximately ten meters away, or to ask her twelve-year-old son to bring them there. The executing police officer gave her no chance to do so, and instead slammed the woman who had her eighteen -month-old grandchild in her arms against the police car, and then - after the child was taken by its mother who was present - began to handcuff her. The twelve-year-old son of the woman tried to intervene, which caused him to be hit twice by the police officer, and the other officer handcuffed him as well.

A man who heard the altercation and rushed to help, was assaulted without a word by one of the police officers and was handcuffed on the ground as well.

The police officers requested backup, and in the end, all three handcuffed persons were taken to the Police Station in Sz. Later, they were interrogated as suspects.

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