The District Prosecutor’s Office in Legnica (Dolnośląskie Voivodeship) still does not know the cause of death of 29-year-old Łukasz from Wrocław. However, investigators rule out that the man’s death was not caused by external injuries. No one has been charged so far. Łukasz Łągiewka died a few hours after the police intervened in his apartment.
29-year-old Łukasz, on the night of August 1-2, locked himself in his apartment in Psie Pole in Wrocław. He would not let relatives inside. The family feared that the man might commit suicide. Father called the police to the scene. The officers entered the apartment by force and overpowered the 29-year-old. The man was taken to hospital. He died a few hours later.
The Wrocław police issued a statement on this matter. Its spokesman, Łukasz Dutkowiak, informed that due to the fact that the man “locked himself in the apartment and did not want to open the door, and his safety was at risk because he was strongly aroused, a decision was made to enter by force”. And the intervention – as it was reported – was recorded by a wearable camera on the uniform of one of the officers.
Cause of death still unknown
The case was initially dealt with by the Wrocław prosecutor’s office, but in order to avoid suspicions of partiality, the investigation was moved to Legnica. On October 19, we sent a number of questions regarding the details of the case to the spokeswoman of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Legnica. On November 9, we received a reply.
Lidia Tkaczyszyn, spokeswoman for the Legnica prosecutor’s office, said that the cause of death of Łukasz Łągiewka is still unknown. It will be possible to issue an opinion by expert doctors in the field of forensic medicine only after obtaining toxicological opinions.
“Recently, the first toxicological opinion was obtained, containing the results of the examination of the material collected during the autopsy for drugs and legal highs. Based on the findings of this opinion, it became necessary in the investigation to conduct further toxicological tests, the results of which may be of importance in determining the cause of Łukasz’s death Ł. And establishing the course of the event “- informs Tkaczyszyn.
The spokeswoman also said that on the basis of the autopsy “it can already be said that the injured man has not been identified with any injuries that would be causally related to his death”.
In the course of the investigation, inter alia, members of Łukasz’s family, his neighbors, policemen and firefighters participating in the intervention, paramedics present at the scene and doctors and paramedics who provided medical aid to a 29-year-old in hospital. Tkaczyszyn points out that the investigation is already at an advanced stage, however, the case is still pending and no charges have been presented so far.
The sister of the deceased 29-year-old claims that during the intervention, six policemen used gas, telescopic batons and restraining holds on Łukasz. The family complained about the way the actions were carried out. – In front of me, in front of my father, they murdered my brother – said Wiktoria Łągiewka at the press conference.
In response to these allegations, a few days later the police – at a meeting with journalists – presented a recording that is evidence in the case. The spokesman of the chief police officer Mariusz Ciarka explained that the publication was decided “because of the important social and police interests”.
The over four-minute-long video shows policemen trying to break through the door to the apartment, blocked by the 29-year-old from the inside. The gas and the telescopic baton are in motion. From time to time, the door opens as a result of kicks. There is a knife in the man’s hand. Eventually, the policemen manage to enter the apartment. At this point, the video presented by the police stops. It was not shown how the continuation of the intervention proceeded, and it was this part of the family of the deceased 29-year-old who had the greatest reservations.
Meetings of the parliamentary committee
At the end of September, members of the family of Łukasz and 34-year-old Bartosz from Lubin, together with their proxies, participated in the session of the Parliamentary Committee on Administration and Internal Affairs. The committee was to give an opinion on the request of the Civic Coalition to present, at a session of the Seym, information about the pending proceedings in the cases of the death of three young men after the intervention of Lower Silesian policemen. However, no representative of the police and the Ministry of Interior and Administration showed up.
On October 12, another committee meeting was held, this time with the participation of Maciej Wąsik, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration, Dariusz Augustyniak’s First Deputy Chief of Police and Mariusz Ciarka’s spokesman for KGP. The same video that we saw at the police conference a month earlier was then shown.
Several MPs demanded that the entire recording from the officer’s shoulder camera be projected. However, this did not happen. Ciarka explained that only the last few seconds of the recording had not been published, and Deputy Minister Wąsik added that the public prosecutor’s office had not given its consent to publish the entire material.
Unpublished excerpt from the recording
“Gazeta Wyborcza Wrocław” found the entire recording of the intervention in Łukasz’s apartment. This is 80 seconds of a previously unpublished fragment of the film, after forcibly entering the apartment. You can see, among others beating with a truncheon or treading parts of the 29-year-old’s body to the floor.
Łukasz was blocking the front door for a few minutes, but at one point, after being pushed by one of the policemen, the 29-year-old probably slipped and fell, allowing the officers to get inside. At this point, the video presented by the police to journalists and MPs ends.
In the previously unpublished part, we see a policeman swinging a telescopic truncheon and throwing himself at his feet. In the next few seconds, the others jump towards him. Curses are heard, screams are heard, the 29-year-old moans and cries for help. You can see one of the officers getting a shoe on the hands of the 29-year-old and treading her to the floor. A moment later, one of the policemen grabs the man by the head, another twists his right arm, and another hits the 29-year-old in the left hand with a truncheon.
We asked the police for a comment on the published but previously unknown fragment of the recording. In an e-mail sent to the TVN24 reporter, Deputy Commissioner Antoni Rzeczkowski from the KGP press office emphasized that the end of the recording was not published “only because of respect for the deceased and his relatives.”
The e-mail said: “(…) presenting an almost naked man behaving irrationally, not only could be perceived by the family as a humiliation of the deceased and family members, but could also be related to a related lawsuit.” Rzeczkowski also emphasizes that “the police have nothing to hide and, as everyone with basic knowledge knows, the film is available to the family, representatives and probably may be presented by authorized bodies under the terms of the Code of Criminal Procedure”.
A spokesman for the Lower Silesian police, Kamil Rynkiewicz, said that on September 1, disciplinary proceedings were initiated against four of the six policemen who intervened in Łukasz’s apartment for not turning on the wear of the wearable cameras during the intervention.
– The very actions and the manner of intervening by the policemen do not raise any doubts – emphasized Rynkiewicz, referring to the explanatory activities carried out in this case.
He reported that the policemen had not been suspended. – There is no signal, whether in this or other cases, proving a causal relationship between the course of the intervention and the death of a person in Psie Pole, or during other interventions in Lubin and WROPON (it is about death of 34-year-old Bartosz and 25-year-old Dmytro – ed.). We are waiting for the findings of the prosecutor’s office in this regard, which will determine our further actions, informed the spokesman of the Lower Silesian Police.
Main photo source: Police Headquarters