Chaos in Budva: Did Police Use Excessive Force?

By , 04 Jul 2020, 16:29 PM News
Police officers strike unarmed man Police officers strike unarmed man Vijesti

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An internal investigation of the Ministry of the Interior is scrutinising actions of police officers on 24th June in Budva.

The Ministry of the Interior is suggesting that there were instances of police officers illegally exceeding their authority during the police intervention.

"The Department for Internal Police Investigation has established cases in relation to events during the police intervention on 24th June in Budva. These are based upon published recordings from electronic and other media that show cases of suspected illegal use of coercion or excess of authority by police officers against individuals," reads the response of the Ministry of the Interior submitted to Vijesti.

Several weeks of political tensions due to the change of government in Budva escalated on that day, when the police intervened on several occasions against the public and councilors of the Democrats, the Democratic Front, and the Socialist People's Party.

Several recordings were published in the media showing the excessive use of police force, especially against Đorđe Đurašević and Predrag Radetić, both from Budva.

During the police intervention, Đurašević was injured, and the footage shows the officer approaching him, and then shoving him, pulling him aside and pushing him onto a parked car. Throughout the day, the police threw tear gas at several locations, and patrols then surrounded the town and arrested individuals.

Footage shows police officers striking a man who was offering no resistance and who was standing with his hands raised; police then ran towards him and knocked him to the ground.

Police officers acted similarly in a cafe in Budva, where they attacked one individual who had been knocked to the floor.

Five days after the worrying scenes in Budva, the Minister of the Interior, Mevludin Nuhodžić, announced that certain cases of police intervention would be reviewed.

"If police officers are found to have exceeded their authority, they will be prosecuted in line with procedures," Nuhodžić said.

After the events in Budva, the opposition demanded the resignation of both the Minister of the Interior and the Director of Police, Veselin Veljović.

A session of the parliamentary Security Committee was held last Monday, and the deputies of the Democratic Front said after that that they were disappointed that the leaders of the Ministry of the Interior and the police had refused to accept responsibility for the events in Budva.

The police intervention in Budva is also the subject of an investigation by the Kotor Prosecutor's Office, to determine whether the police officers had committed abuse or other criminal offences during the intervention in Budva.

The Council for Civilian Oversight of Police also requested that the identity of those in uniform, shown in footage to be using excessive force, be clarified.

Investigations ongoing into abuse of Pljevlja citizens

The Department for Internal Police Investigation has not yet issued its verdict in the case of the use of coercive measures by police officers against Pljevlja citizen O.M. (21) in the riots on 13th May this year.

"The internal investigation into the case in question is ongoing," Vijesti was told.

The Council for Civilian Oversight of Police stated in the report that at least seven police officers used their hands, feet and batons to beat the individual, who offered no resistance, exceeding their authority and violating the rights of the 21-year-old.

Due to the abuse of the individual in question, the case is in the reconnaissance phase within the local prosecutor's office.

The twenty-one-year-old was beaten by police with equipment used for dispersing demonstrators during protests against the arrest of Bishop Ioaniki and a priest of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral.

The police actions were in this case recorded on camera.

 

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