MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) – Two Russian police officers are being investigated for possible negligence after an operation to arrest a suspected sex offender at a Moscow market last weekend ended with another officer suffering serious head injuries after being attacked by an angry mob, investigators said.
Senior Lieutenant Vladimir Cherezov and Senior Sergeant Yury Lunkov are under investigation for their alleged failure to take action when a crowd of people at the Matveyevsky market in western Moscow attempted to stop the detention Saturday of a man suspected of sexual assault.
In the scuffle that broke out, one of the police officers present, Anton Kudryashov, was hit over the head, reportedly with brass knuckles. The blow smashed his skull and he has since undergone brain surgery.
“When the relatives of the man being detained began to put up resistance to officers, and then violently beat up officer Kudryashov, his colleagues did not take measures to stop these unlawful actions or detain the attackers for questioning. Magomed Rasulov, who has now been charged with a very serious crime, fled the scene of the crime, and officer Kudryashov sustained serious injuries,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement published on the committee’s website Wednesday.
Cherezov and Lunkov will be questioned over “the reasons for their failure to take action,” Markin said, adding the officers “were not able to help their colleague, not to mention protect ordinary citizens.”
The brawl at the market, a video of which was posted on the Internet, has attracted nationwide attention in Russia.
Moscow police launched a series of raids in the wake of the attack “to decriminalize Moscow marketplaces.” The raids continued even after the detention of Rasulov, the man suspected of inflicting the blow, who has now been charged with the attempted murder of a police officer. In total, more than 1,000 people were detained in the market raids, police said.
The episode has also fueled ethnic tensions in Moscow, whose marketplaces employ many migrants from post-Soviet states and representatives of ethnic minorities from the North Caucasus who, though Russian citizens, are also treated as migrants by many Russians outside the North Caucasus.