Funeral for Roma man known as the 'Czech George Floyd' held in Teplice

The case of a man who died while in police custody has drawn international media attention.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 25.07.2021 11:59 (updated on 25.07.2021)

Teplice, North Bohemia, July 24 (CTK) - Some 30 people attended the funeral of Czech Roma man Stanislav Tomaš, who died shortly after police intervention in Teplice on June 19. The funeral was held at St. John the Baptist Church in Teplice on Saturday, Miroslav Brož, of the NGO Konexe Association which represents Tomaš's family, told CTK.

The ceremony, including a Catholic mass, was open to the public. The deceased's sister invited the public to attend the open-coffin service.

"I am inviting everybody who would like to honor the memory of my brother to his funeral on Saturday, 24 July at 10 AM in the Church of Saint John the Baptist on Zámecké náměstí in Teplice," Simona Tomášová wrote on social media.

Floral arrangements displayed on the coffin were sent from a number of international groups that followed the case, Brož said.

On the afternoon of June 19, Czech police intervened in Teplice over a brawl of two men who also vandalized cars. Tomaš, died in an ambulance after the police used coercive means against him. The police said they had to do so because Tomaš resisted when he was being detained.

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Amateur video footage shows a policeman kneeling on the man's neck for several minutes.

The Czech police have repeatedly denied having caused the man's death, saying a drug overdose caused it. The man had the hard drug pervitin (methamphetamine) in his system and according to the autopsy, which found no signs of internal injury or suffocation, he died of overdose-induced heart failure, police said.

Several demonstrations challenging the police response were staged in the Czech Republic following the Roma man's death.

The case has drawn media attention worldwide with some comparing it to the case of George Floyd, a black man who died in the US after a police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes.

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PM Andrej Babiš and Police President Jan Švejdar have expressed support for the intervening police officers in Teplice.

The Security Corps General Inspection previously announced it had found no criminal suspicion in the police intervention and would therefore not launch criminal proceedings over it.

A thorough investigation into the incident has been demanded by the Council of Europe as well as the Czech branch of Amnesty International. Czech Deputy Ombudsman Šimůnková is handling the case.

Romani Rose, head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, called the fatal attack on the Roma man inhuman, hideous, and brutal and drew a parallel between this case and Floyd's death.

The Olach Roma Union has filed a legal complaint in connection with Tomaš's death. It has also called for the establishment of a special commission in the Chamber of Deputies to investigate it, the server Romea tweeted.

The deceased man's family filed a criminal complaint against the Czech police in late June. It also demanded another autopsy, but the request was rejected. This is why the funeral was held so late, Brož said.

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