A video sent anonymously to Republika reveals gross abuse of the police during the arrest of several officers, allegedly for refusing to honor social distancing.
The arrests were made in the village of Kuklica, near Kratovo, in early June. Seven off duty officers who were gathered in the home of one of them for a get-together were arrested in a massive police operation that included riot police. A civilian was also arrested. At the time, this was justified with the claim that the officers were resisting arrest.
The video that was sent to Republika shows the entire incident, and reveals that the off-duty officers were cooperative and did not resist. We believe that it is in the public’s right to know about the abuse of the police in this way, given how the incident was falsely presented in the public by the BJB bureau.
The footage reveals how the head of Kumanovo police Stojance Velickovic leads the group of riot police on a raid. When the owner of the house, who is also an officer, says he will comply with the arrest order but asks what is the charge, Velickovic refuses to provide one, or a warrant.
During the arrest, the video shows, one of the officers who is being arrested asks why another Kumanovo officer is filming the whole ordeal on his private phone. “Is this meant to be used for political purposes?”, the man asks.
The BJB buraeu that manages the uniformed police is ran by Saso Tasevski, former bodyguard of SDSM party leader Zoran Zaev. Under Tasevski, the large BJB bureau has been abused politically before, including for a raid on a restaurant where opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski was having lunch, again dubiously using the coronavirus restrictions to excuse the show of force.
Police standards state that the riot police can only be used during mass gatherings, anti-terror oprerations or high risk arrests. The footage shared with Republika clearly shows that the riot police unit was abused during this incident.