On March 4, 2014, Gabriel-Daniel Dumitrache, aka “Dinte” (Tooth), aged 26, living in district 3 in Bucharest without an official address, left the house he shared with his mother and many other family members around 7 p.m., on his way to work, in Unirii neighborhood. An ethnic gypsy, Daniel had no education and no job, but earned his living as a „parking boy” and an odd-job man. On the same night (March 4 to 5), several policemen showed up at his mother’s house and asked her for Daniels’s ID card. About 20 minutes after the policemen left with Daniel’s birth certificate, the police announced his family that he was dead.
The family accuses the police of having beaten him to death. According to official documents, the death occurred at No. 15 Stelea Spătaru Street, a former venue of Police Section 10, currently accommodating the Old Center Police Station. It also includes a room where suspects are brought in by Section 10 agents, as well as Section 10 garages. The death certificate noted that death was caused by acute anemia, massive hemoperitoneum and pathologic rupture of the spleen. The document was registered on 05.03.2014, mentioning that the death occurred on March 4, and leaving the time of death blank.
The representatives of APADOR-CH talked to Gabriel-Daniel Dumitrache’s family and neighbors, with the last persons to see him before he was led to the police station, with the chief of Police Station 10 and with the chief of the Old Center Police Station. They also analyzed the related press release issued by the General Direction of the Bucharest Metropolitan Police on March 7.
- Gabriel-Daniel Dumitrache’s family and neighbors
Gabriel-Daniel Dumitrache lived with his bed-confined mother in one room, in the semi-basement of a building in district 3, in an area with many derelict buildings crammed together, which made it impossible not to hear next door’s noises. According to his relatives, Daniel was about 1.75 m tall and had an athletic constitution. He was in good health, although he had been a drug user 6-7 years before, a habit that had sent him to jail for 1 year and 3 months. He had been treated for his addiction at the Rahova Penitentiary Hospital and was released in a very good state, which he had maintained. As an odd-job man he also helped moving furniture, for instance. Daniel’s mother, whom he nursed, said that the young man left home on March 4 around 7 p.m. in perfect health, heading for the parking lots around Unirii area. That night, at 1.10 a.m. (already on March 5, therefore), the woman heard knocking on her window and saw the glare of a searchlight. The knocking came from Section 10 policemen, who asked to have one of Daniel’s ID papers. When she asked them whether they were holding the boy, they allegedly answered that Daniel was retained, but not by them, rather by the Metropolitan Police. After about 10 minutes, during which a relative (Vasilica Marin, the mother’s sister-in-law) brought a file containing official papers, including Daniel’s birth certificate), the policemen took the document and left. According to members of the family and neighbors, about 20 policemen in 4 cars came for the ID paper.
Another 20 minutes later, three police cars returned and one policeman gave the birth certificate back to Vasilica Marin and told her Daniel was dead. “You’ll find him at the Forensic Institute, go and pick him up tomorrow at 10.00”. According to the woman, she started to cry in grief, so all neighbors came out from their homes and started to question the police. The men allegedly gave contradictory answers – that he had been hit by a car, that he had been held by the Metropolitan Police – then left. The family said that on the same night they inquired at the Metropolitan Police and the Traffic Police, and none of the institutions had information about any incident involving Daniel-Gabriel Dumitrache.
The next morning, on March 5, a first cousin, Dan Ionescu, and two other close family members went to the Forensic Institute between 10 and 11 a.m. to pick up the body. Dan Ionescu told the representatives of APADOR-CH that the body showed clear signs of violence: the right leg was allegedly broken under the knee, the jaw was bruised, the abdomen swollen and uncountable injuries: deeper or superficial, covered it. A friend of Daniels, who wanted to remain anonymous, said his experience as a funeral house worker allowed him to see for sure that the right leg was broken. Several members of the family who saw the body in the coffin said they saw the broken jaw and burned marks on his chests (as from electroshocks)
The family and friends of Gabriel-Daniel Dumitrache consider he was the victim of violence committed by a certain policeman (with the complicity of several others) from Section 10, whose name they did not know but who was nicknamed “Moldoveanu”. They say the man had hit and humiliated other gypsies, acquaintances of the family, on other occasions, at the same venue in Stelea Spătaru Street.
The family believes that Daniel was already dead when the police came to ask for his birth certificate. To confirm this supposition, the day of his death mentioned in the death certificate was March 4, while the police arrived at the house after midnight, therefore on March 5.
- The last persons to see Gabriel-Daniel Dumitrache before he was led to the police station – “parking boys”
Parking boys are men who indicate available street parking spaces to drivers, in exchange for a tip. They know each other, they “do the parking” in established places, avoiding to overlap each other’s territory. Some of them are gypsies, some are or were drug-users, many have no ID papers, some are homeless. The only thing they all have in common is extreme poverty.
The representatives of the Association talked to five “parking boys” who worked in Unirii and Decebal areas. They all knew that “Dinte” (Daniel’s alias) was dead and were convinced he had been killed by a blond cop nicknamed “Moldoveanu”. They said they were also beaten by the same cop. One of them, “Chelie” (Baldie), said he had met “Dinte” (Daniel) on the evening of March 4, around 7 p.m., in the Careffour Unirea parking lot, and that Daniel had left around 9 p.m., telling him he was going to Decebal Boulevard to meet “Căpățână” (Bighead).
“Căpățână” – Cristian Tudor – confirmed that Daniel arrived on Decebal Boulevard around 9 p.m. but left soon afterwards to buy some sandwiches. While Dumitrache was away, a police car with a crew of two stopped by and fined him. The same car came back after Daniel returned from his shopping. The two policemen put Daniel in their car and left. According to Cristian Tudor, this happened between 10.30 and 11 p.m. at 17 Decebal Boulevard (an area with many cafes and restaurants). Tudor said he asked the police why they were taking Daniel and they allegedly answered “Shut up, or we’ll take you, too!”
- The chief of Police Station 10
The representatives of APADOR-CH wanted to find out some matters of procedure that could clarify the circumstances of Gabriel-Daniel Dumitrache’s death while in custody of Section 10 policemen.
More precisely, the chief was asked whether Section 10 kept a record of persons led to the police station (an administrative measure), as required by police internal procedures, and whether a minute for contravention was signed or any other papers indicating why and for how long the person in question was deprived of freedom. The chief refused to answer any of the questions, although, obviously, they would not have impeded in any way upon a pending investigation. He asked that the questions should be sent to him in writing.
The only information he provided was that that a suspicious death case was opened, that the Internal Control Direction of the General Police Inspectorate was notified and that there was no video surveillance system at the Stelea Spătaru Street venue. The chief also said that many of the statements made by the family and friends of the deceased were false.
- The chief of the Old Center Police Station
The representatives of APADOR-CH also visited the Old Center Police Station (in whose courtyard the incidents leading to Daniel’s death took place and where the garages and a hall used by Section 10 policemen were situated) and talked to the chief. He said that Section 10 still had a training room, the policemen’s locker rooms in the semi-basement and the garages at the same address, but that the activity of the two sections did not overlap.
The chief said that Section 10 agents used the training room from the Old Center Police Station when they enforced the administrative measure of leading persons to the police station, but that he could not provide details of their activity, because they were a separate unit.
- The press release issued by the General Direction of the Bucharest Metropolitan Police
APADOR-CH considers that information in the press release issued by the General Direction of the Bucharest Metropolitan Police regarding the death of Gabriel-Daniel Dumitrache is insufficient and tardy. The press release was issued on March 7, 2014, after 6 p.m., three days after the death, and made no mention of the time of death. This is all the more suspicious as this particular item of information was also missing from the death certificate.
- APADOR-CH considers that the information available before this report was completed leads to the conclusion that in the case of Daniel-Gabriel Dumitrache’s death there were violations of both Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.) and Article 2 (Right to life and the affirmative obligation of the state to protect this right);
- Gabriel-Daniel Dumitrache’s death inside a police station venue confirms the vulnerable position of persons led to the police station as part of an “administrative” measure. Such a person is deprived of freedom just like any retained or detained person, but completely devoid of legal defense means (the right to remain silent, the right to be assisted by an attorney, to immediately inform their family about their whereabouts etc.) It is imperative that the guarantees of legal rights for persons led to the police station should be regulated by law with celerity;
- Delaying by three days a police press release regarding Daniel Gabriel Dumitrache’s death is, in the opinion of APADOR-CH, an indication that a cover-up is being attempted;
- Since the Prosecutor’s Office is under obligation to launch investigations on deaths occurring at police venues, APADOR-CH asks for a swift, solid and efficient investigation and the transparent information of the public on the solution found by prosecutors.
March 12, 2014