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19-year-old dies in holding cell: reply of prosecutor’s office

The HFHR has intervened in the case of the nineteen-year-old Piotr who died in hospital from injuries caused by beating.

On 20 June 2017, the victim arrived at Płock visiting his girlfriend. During the night, he was attacked and beaten by a group of ten. An ambulance crew and the police were called to the scene. Reportedly, paramedics confirmed that the man was unharmed but intoxicated. Police officers decided to take the victim to a police detention centre. They did not take him in as a suspect but wanted to let him stay overnight and rest because he was not from town and had nowhere else to go. On their way to the station, the officers decided to bring the nineteen-year-old to the emergency department of a local hospital. There, without examining the victim in a proper way, a doctor said he could be brought to a police detention centre. After arriving at the centre, Piotr’s condition deteriorated and around 4 in the morning an ambulance took him back to the hospital, where he was admitted to an intensive care unit. It transpired that his occipital bone was fractured. Later, he was declared brain-dead.

The HFHR asked the District Prosecutor’s Office in Płock for information about the inquiry pending in the case and regular updates on the status of the proceedings.

On 23, the Foundation received a reply to the intervention letter. According to the information provided in the reply, a criminal investigation has been launched and three lines of inquiry have been followed:

As part of the first limb of the investigation, attempts are made at finding out whether the responding officers had properly discharged their duties. They might have failed to do so because they only checked the identity documents of persons participating in the brawl and had not called for an ambulance that would provide medical attention to the wounded victim.

The other lines of inquiry concern the alleged negligence of doctors who had not performed detailed diagnostic tests and officially attested that the victim can safely stay in a police holding cell. They issued such an opinion even though they knew about the beating, injuries to the victim’s head and his complaints of dizziness.

The evidence is collected in the case, no charges have been filed so far.

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