Latvian police crash funeral to arrest drunk driver

In Talsi municipality, local police officers decided to swoop on a funeral procession and snatch a suspect – a drunk driver who had been avoiding serving his sentence. Latvian Television's 4. studija in its show aired December 20 tried to find out the circumstances and whether this was really the best course of action.

A young girl was buried in the Pūņas village of Talsi municipality in late November. The funeral was attended by many, so when a police car appeared, everyone throught police would regulate traffic. But they were wrong. The officers were after local resident Dāvis, who had been sentenced to two months in prison for driving under the influence without a license. The verdict had come into effect at least a year ago.

The man's partner, Monta, is outraged by the police's actions. The woman said her husband worked as usual and lived at home. She had not approached police as she had 'believed it was the job of the officers to find him'. She had not, nor had anyone, anticipated that police would show up at a family member's funeral.

After the farewell ceremony at the chapel, a procession of cars went to the graveyard of Pūņas. Police had stopped the entire procession, driven straight up to Monta and Dāvis' car, and made him get out. It was not a calm detention either – Dāvis attempted to split so police had to chase him down and use electric shock. 

The deceased girl's classmates had filmed the chase. Monta and Dāvis' 14-year-old son also saw the video in a group chat and did not know how to react. 

Monta's efforts to point out to police officers that a detention during a funeral service wasn't ethical have failed.

Police, apparently trying to justify the actions, in turn replied that the detention took place in a “funeral procession” rather than “during a funeral”. 

“The state police were given the task of detaining the man and bringing him to the prison because he had not voluntarily and within the prescribed time limit come to serve his sentence himself and had also hidden and evaded police so far,” said Madara Šeršņova, senior specialist in the PR department of the State Police. “The man showed resistance upon detention, failed to comply with officials' legal demands at the time of his detention, and attempted an escape. The man was detained and placed in a temporary detention facility. On suspicion that the man may have been under the influence of intoxicating substances, he has been taken to a medical facility for an expert examination.”

Three administrative violation proceedings have been initiated against Dāvis – for non-declaration of the place of residence, for non-fulfillment of the legal requirements of officials, and for allegedly unauthorized use of narcotic or psychotropic substances.

Retired Criminal Police chief Norberts Trepša told LTV that the situation should have been evaluated beforehand. 

“The whole situation, from the qualification of the offense, needs to be assessed here. Whether it is a criminal offense or a lesser serious crime, serious, particularly serious. As well as the personality of the detainee – whether he or she has been punished sooner, and for what offenses. It is necessary to assess whether this is the only real possibility of detention or whether there is another possibility of detention. Whether or not we will exert a psychological hit on fellow people at the time of this detention,” said Trepša.

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