Could the attack on V.M. have been prevented?

Belgrade, 12.09.2012

Gay straight alliance (GSA; Alliance) received yesterday a call from a person A.M. who lives in the vicinity of the park in Fruskogorska Street in Belgrade, where the attack on the young gay man V.M. (25) took place in the night between September 7 and 8, who was beaten around 1:30 am by a group of unknown attackers causing him severe bodily injuries.

A.M. contacted Alliance to inform it about the details that could be important for the circumstances under which the attack happened. According to the A.M.’s statement a group of younger men gathered that night in the park where the attack took place some time before midnight. Since they were very loud and aggressive, shouting and breaking glass objects, most probably bottles, and were disturbing the citizens living in the nearby area, A.M. informed the police about it a little after midnight, asking them to come and intervene to prevent further violations of public order. However, according to A.M. the police did not show up at all and the group continued with shouting and problematic behavior long after she made a call.

In the conversation with GSA A.M., among other things, said: „Around midnight I heard unbearable noise from my apartment’s window from the direction of the park, I went to the window and saw a group of younger men, but due to the darkness I was not able to estimate how many exactly, I would say roughly around ten. Since the noise and shouting did not stop, after approximately ten minutes I called the police on their number 92. A policewoman answered, to whom I described in detail why I was calling, what was going on, that the noise was unbearable, asking her to send a patrol, and she told me that she would. The noise did not stop until around 1 am, and then it went silent. Around 1:30 am I went to the window again and noticed few policemen in the park searching with flashlights for something on the ground. I cannot understand at all why the police could not have come immediately, but only one and half hour after my call, even though I know that the closest police patrol was only 100 meters away from the park, and is always there when there is a party at the nearby club „Apartman“. Before, I had the opportunity to see the police officers patrol the park and intervene in similar situations when there was noise or for any other reason.” A.M. found about the attack on A.M. the day after from the media.

Considering that from the A.M.’s statement it is possible to conclude that with the timely intervention by the police the attack on V.M. could probably have been prevented, Gay straight alliance demands from the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) to investigate these findings without any further delay and quickly inform the public on the following issues:

  • did the police, while investigating the attack on V.M., question the occupants of the surrounding buildings?
  • whether the police have any information about the violations of public order by a group of younger people at the same place where the attack on V.M. took place (park on the Fruskogorska Street) in the period between midnight and the moment of the attack, and if yes, according to those findings is it the same group that later attacked V.M.?
  • whether the A.M.’s call to the MUP around midnight between September 7 and 8 is recorded in the call register, or calls from the other occupants, and did the police send their patrol after that call and when, and if not, why?

A.M.’s claims also lead to the conclusion that the policemen engaged in protecting the space where the brutal attack on V.M. took place, as well as police officers on duty, did not act according to the requirements of the Law on Police and the Rules of practice in performing their duties and tasks. This could result in a further disruption of the police’s reputation and reduction in trust of the LGBT population and other citizens in the police’s work in guaranteeing their safety. Therefore, GSA believes that it is necessary that the MUP urgently investigate these claims and inform the public whether there were any omissions by their servants, and if yes, sanction them adequately.

GSA Info Center