"No to police": Police officer's attack on disabled minor sparks protests in Georgia
Police officer’s attack on a disabled minor in Georgia
Simultaneous rallies, organized by the opposition United National Movement, have been held in Tbilisi, Zugdidi, Batumi, Gori and Telavi today.
Protesters gathered to oppose police violence, saying punishment of indiviudal officers will not make a significant difference, and systemic changes are needed.
Protests were sparked by a video released to the media on January 24 showing a police officer punching a minor in the back of the head and pulling his hair. The victim’s cries are heard as well as the voice of his friend telling police that the victim is deaf-mute and is physically unable to answer questions of the officer.
The policeman answers, “Are you deaf-mute ?! Shall I make you talk ?! ”, and continues to beat the detainee. As the investigation revealed, the incident took place on January 23 in Isani metro station between 20:00 and 21:00 in the evening.
The victim is a 17-year-old minor boy with disabilities who was on the subway with his brother and friend. Patrol officers detained the teenager on the subway escalator and took him to the police office, where the minor was physically assaulted by one of the officers. Another police officer was also present at the scene.
Later, the State Inspector’s Service arrested both policemen.
Protesters held banners with inscriptions “Do not use violence”, “Believe the system”, “No to police”.
Many patrol police officers were also mobilized in Katsia. The situation became tense several times in Zugdidi, when the citizens tried to make an inscription on the sidewalk, but were stopped by the police.
This is not the first case of police brutality against minors in Georgia.
One of the most high-profile cases is that of 15-year-old Luka Siradze, who committed suicide after being questioned by police.
In this case, investigator Mariana Choloyan was arrested and found guilty of pressuring a minor, but was later released from custody.