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12° Nicosia,
19 June, 2024
 
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Citizen wants to school police over 'wrongful arrest'

Bystander during protest says he was wrongfully arrested with no transparency by vengeful cops

Newsroom

A private citizen in Cyprus is going after police following an encounter outside Parliament last month, saying he was wrongfully arrested as a concerned bystander by vengeful motorbike cops during a protest about foreclosures.

Local media this week said a private citizen has filed a complaint against the police following an encounter he had with motorcycle officers on March 27, during a protest outside Parliament when lawmakers inside the building met to discuss the controversial issue of foreclosures.

According to the complaint, three members of the Z motor unit gathered around a car and one of them grabbed the shocked driver by the neck and pulled him out.

“When the aforementioned officer grabbed him, I simply told them politely to ‘watch how they behave and that they ought to follow the police code of conduct’,” the complainant said in his statement.

'These police officers have violated many articles in the police code of conduct but they have also breached the law by abusing their power and acting like bullies of the underworld'

“The three officers then ganged up on me,” said the complainant, adding that they were shouting and shoving hilw one of them “got in my face.”

According to the complaint, the officer was spit-screaming as his colleagues held him back during what he described as an attempt to use physical violence.

As the private citizen was talking to other bystanders after the encounter, “one of the Z officers walked up to him and asked that he did not share with others what had happened earlier.

The man then replied that he was having conversations with fellow citizens, according to the complaint which included a recorded video of the exchange, saying the officer then told him he was under arrest.

Under arrest or free to go?

During the encounter the citizen’s version of events is that he was not formally informed about any offense he was suspected of committing until he asked them if they were sure they could arrest him, prompting one of them after a long pause to declare he was being detained for obstructing a police officer.

But the officers in a patrol car that arrived on the scene refused to book the suspect due to a disagreement they had with the Z officer in the video, he alleged, adding they were saying “they can’t put me in the patrol car, they will get in trouble for this.”

At this point, the private citizen claims that the Z officer in question asked him to follow him in his car down to the Lykavitos station under police escort and “this is what I did.”

He also claims that he kept asking why he was being detained without getting a response, until half an hour later when a female officer told him he had been arrested and read him his rights.

“At this point, I stated that I started recording to protect my rights and that I do not trust the police after such behavior, and she called the officer with Number xxxx who took my phone and took me to the jail cell,” he said.

“I was then asked to make a statement but I politely refused,” he added.

Police refused to receive counter complaint

The citizen says he was finally let go an hour later and spoke with his lawyer, who urged him to go back and file a complaint for wrongful arrest and assault.

“But he refused to take down my statement claiming that he was not authorized to do so,” the citizen said.

The individual also says in his complaint that the actions by the police “show clearly that the whole procedure was not transparent or they simply acted out of spite because they suspected I would have reported them when I asked for their badge numbers.”

“This also shows that they did not know what charges t press against me, they did not even know whether or not I was under arrest at the station and I had every right to leave but I stayed there voluntarily,” he said.

He also says he has a clean criminal record and he even cooperated with police in the past on safety issues in other protest events.

The private citizen is calling for all charges against him to be suspended and instead there should be a probe into the behavior and actions of the officers.

“These police officers have violated many articles in the police code of conduct but they have also breached the law by abusing their power and acting like bullies of the underworld,” he said.

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