Two policemen accused of torturing a 25-year-old suspect lost their appeal in court yesterday. They are to both spend at least two years in prison.
For those not familiar with the case, in May 2016 Igor Stachowiak was arrested on the Rynek in the early hours of the morning. It was claimed at the time that he was a fraud suspect the police had been trying to track down. Hours later, it emerged that the 25-year-old had died while in police custody.
Not long after the news became public, violent protests broke out in front of the police station were Igor died. One police officer was also suspended, although he ended up back on duty three months later.
The case then returned to the attention of the public in May of 2017, when TVN broadcast leaked taser-cam footage of a police officer brutally firing a stun gun at Igor. Not long after the footage was broadcast, the Interior Ministry ordered the policeman in question be dismissed immediately.
After several years of legal wrangling, we now know that two of the police officers involved in detaining Igor will serve prison sentences.
On top of that, both men will be banned from working for the police for many years. One of the men will only be able to return to the force after 6 years, while the other has been banned for 8 years. The judge nonetheless made it clear yesterday that the two men “have neither the professional nor moral competence” to work in the police.
Before the final verdict was read out yesterday, the court heard how the policemen had “tortured” but “not murdered” Igor Stachowiak. Both men were found guilty of abuse of power as well as psychological and physical abuse.
The three-member panel of judges concluded that it was not the stun-gun alone that killed the 25-year-old, as the respiratory and circulatory failure that caused his death was a result of a dose of amphetamine he had taken.
The use of a stun gun against the detained Igor Stachowiak , at a time when he was handcuffed and had already started to follow orders, should be considered torture.
Judge Małgorzata Szyszko
Stachowiak’s family have expressed disappointment at the court’s verdict. They argue that if the police had acted differently, Igor would still be alive. In a separate civil trial, Stachowiak’s father is also claiming 3 million złoty in damages from the state treasury.