Police inspect former MP Znotiņš over possible ethnic hate crime

Following a conflict between the former Saeima deputy, the parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Education and Science, and the former Conservative party member Reinis Znotiņš and his neighbors, the State Police has launched a case on petty hooliganism and also assessing a possible case of incitement to national, ethnic or racial hate, Latvian Television reported on August 3.

Znotiņš  resigned from the Conservative Party on Thursday, following a video published on the Internet showing a dispute with his neighbors.

"I insisted on speaking Latvian in Latvia, and Russian neighbors began to strangle me in the stairway. The State Police arrived and said I was guilty of provoking the Russians," said Znotiņš on the social network “X” (formerly known as Twitter) on the evening of July 30. A few days later, publicist Lato Lapsa published a string of assembled video excerpts on YouTube that reveal a different scene. The beginning of the conflict is not there, but out of sight, the former Member is cursing at someone, most probably the neighbor mentioned, again and again recalling Znotiņš' status and influence, and ultimately there is a fight. 

The video can be watched as part of the news story below (must be opened on YouTube due to age restriction).

On several occasions, Znotiņš also mentioned the current Minister for the Interior Māris Kučinskis. For example, the video records Znotiņš saying, “I will call Kučinskis and he will throw you out of this country.” Kučinskis did not receive such a call though.

Kučinskis said: “This morning Mr Znotiņš apologized, wrote in a Telegram message that he apologized for what he had done. The world has changed with the Twitter environment, the "Twitter court", where, without waiting for reasonable explanations, it is immediately put together what is good, what is bad, and of course the police are suffering quite often from it.”

The State Police responded to what Znotiņš had written on social media, publicly stating that the actual circumstances had been different, but the storm of outrage on the social network was still substantial, and a series of entries were also directed against the police.

Znotiņš himself wrote that only a part of what had happened was visible in the published video, but what exactly had been omitted he did not state. Attempts by LTV to contact him resulted in a brief message that he apologized to the people he had harmed and regretted his actions.

The State Police are currently evaluating not only a total of four applications from both parties concerned in relation to physical conflict but also launching a check to see if there are grounds for encouraging a case of incitement to national, ethnic, or religious hatred.

Raimonds Kronbergs, Chief of Criminal Police Administration of the State Police, said: “All video materials should be consulted, both those at the hands of the applicants and on social networks. Certainly, the State Police will also assess the behavior of the individuals involved against police officers.”

On the other hand, Interior Minister Kučinskis noted: “The police will focus with all their might on hate speeches against those who are not patriots of our country, who have another president and another language, and other morals, but at the same time extremism on the other hand, we must be objective and give signals that incitement to hatred may be the other way around. If there are signs of hatred there will have to be responsibility."


Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important