Riga City Latgale Suburb Court currently handles five criminal cases regarding six Latvian State Police and Riga Municipal Police officers who are accused of unjustified violence against residents. In one of the criminal cases, a victim who was subjected to violence died from his injuries, according to information compiled by the court.
In one of the criminal cases, the prosecution states that one State Police officer and two of his colleagues were asked to assist in the apprehension of a suspect in a criminal case in 2012.
The accused and his colleagues arrived at the home of the suspect in Riga on the same day the ordered was given to apprehend him. Police officers stood outside the door leading to the apartment.
When the door opened, the accused pulled the person out of the apartment and ‘passed him over’ to his colleague, who ‘passed’ the person again to his other colleague. In spite of the fact that the man did not offer any resistance during arrest and there was no reason to believe he could try to escape, the accused police officer forced the man to the floor and locked his arms behind his back. Continuing the unjustified violence, the police officer then proceeded to punch the man two times in his back while reading the person’s rights, as told by press-secretary of the Prosecutor General’s Office Kristine Stutugina.
As a result of the violence, the man received serious injuries, which then caused problems with his health. The injuries the man had sustained at the hands of the accused police officer included a contusion of the left side of the chest, bruises and two broken ribs.
In another criminal case, two officers of Riga Municipal Police are accused of police brutality. According to Riga Court Region’s prosecutor Yekaterina Kushakova, police received information from doctors about an apparently drunk man found on Visku Street in October 2013.
The prosecution believes that, while attempting to learn the identity of the drunk man, one of the police officers had stepped on the lying man’s palm. After that, police officers put the man in the police car and proceeded to punch and kick him, continuing the ‘interview’. The accused police officers then carried the man to a shelter on Gaizina Street, where they simply tossed him on the floor upon entering the building and then left. The victim was not provided with medical assistance. After one week in Riga Stradins Hospital, where he was delivered from the shelter, the man died.
Although the man was delivered to a shelter for homeless people, he was not a homeless person at all. On top of that, based on materials in this criminal case, that man was not violent at all and did not resist the police.
The criminal case was submitted to court in January 2015. However, due to different reasons, it was never reviewed in detail. The nearest court hearing is scheduled for 29 February.