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MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti) – Police have rounded up 300 people to be “checked for complicity in crimes and offenses,” at markets around Moscow after an officer’s skull was bashed in while he attempted to detain a suspected sex offender, the city’s police department said Monday.
“The raids are continuing,” the department said, “to de-criminalize Moscow marketplaces on instructions from police chief Anatoly Yakunin.”
On Saturday, a team of officers was attacked by a crowd of 20 to 25 people at the Matveyevsky food market in western Moscow as they were detaining a man suspected of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. One of the officers’ skulls was bashed in, reportedly by a punch with brass knuckles. That officer was set to undergo brain surgery the next day.
The incident was captured on film, and the video will serve as the main evidence in a criminal investigation, federal Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said Monday. “Investigators are carefully studying the video footage, which explicitly shows the events and also all persons involved.”
The suspected sex offender has confessed to forcibly undressing the teenage girl, but has claimed he did not rape her because he “lost the desire” to do so, the investigative spokesman said, adding that a court on Monday would be requested to prolong the suspect’s incarceration before trial.
The suspect’s wife, accused of punching and kicking police as her husband was being detained, was also taken into custody. Police are still trying to identify the person who smashed the officer’s skull. That perpetrator faces life in prison, Markin said.