Four years ago, on February 7, 2016, a patrol police officer Serhiy Oliynyk shot dead a minor Mykhailo Medvediev with a service gun in Kyiv. Medvediev’s only “fault” was that he was a passenger in a car whose driver committed an administrative offence. Enraged polizeien embarked on a real manhunt, and after chasing him and shooting sporadically (in the middle of a city!), they halted the car and shot a person sitting in the passenger’s seat dead, through the windshield.
This was the first reported crime committed by “my new police,” which became a true trademark of the “reform” conducted by two visiting swindlers. As it turned out, Oliynyk is a former detective of the Obolon District Police Department, who in January of 2014 fabricated a criminal case against protesters and sent an “Automaidan” activist Denys Serhiyenko to a detention center. And even though after Yanukovych had fled the country, Serhiyenko was found a victim by the Office of the Prosecutor General, after a year and a half of hiding, Oliynyk took a job as a patrol policeman at “my new police,” and only in a few months committed yet another crime, namely, murdered a 17 year old guy.
However, professional civil activists including Mustafa Nayyem with his brother Masi, Oleksiy Hrytsenko (a sonny of an eternally unelectable colonel), leaders of “Automaidan” of which Denys Serhiyenko was a member, and a “Heavenly Hundred’s lawyer” Yevheniia Zakrevska all firmly stood by Oliynyk. Professional civil activists, having received pecuniary incentives from the International Renaissance Foundation and the U.S. Embassy, organized rallies demanding release of Oliynyk. They even managed to force Serhiy Horbatiuk, the Head of the Department of Special Investigations of the Office of the Prosecutor General, to promise that Oliynyk would not receive notice of suspicion for his wrongdoings in January 2014 lest any doubt is cast on the success of the police reform.
Actually, four years ago, a path for Ukraine to follow in the nearest future was decided upon. If the murdered in a uniform had been punished, the rest of the polizeien would have had deep reflections. And this would have given some hope that a law enforcement agency would appear in Ukraine whose officials would be bound by Constitution and laws of this country. However, soon enough Oliynyk got out and continued serving in the patrol police (although they won’t let him out in the streets of the capital, so currently Oliynyk receives taxpayers’ money as an inspector of the Public Relations Division of the Kyiv Patrol Police Department), even though now he’s being tried in the Holosiiv District Court of Kyiv for intentional homicide of Mykhailo Medvediev. That said, the word “tried” should be put in quotes as in December of 2019, the jurors’ tenure expired (a list of jurors is confirmed for a period of three years), and now a new jury is being selected, so the case will be tried from square one.
Moreover, to let the polizeien realize that Constitution is nothing, and they are free to carry on committing any crimes with impunity, Minister of Internal Affairs Avakov provided Oliynyk with lawyers paid out of his personal funds. At the same time, relatives of the murdered Mykhailo Medvediev were not reimbursed in the slightest even for funeral expenses. So this is not surprising that now not a week goes by without reporting some yet another crime committed by “my new police,” and intentional homicides and tortures, robberies and assaults, bribe solicitations and drug dealings have long become a trademark of the “revamped police.”
Within the course of pre-trial investigation, Oliynyk tried to persuade prosecutors, detectives, and experts that when the car stopped, it turned 180 degrees all by itself, and that’s why he accidentally hit the passenger through the windshield. But, conversations between Oliynyk and his partners Feshchenko and Nykytiuk recorded by body cameras indicate differently. Here’s how “my new police” chased a car only because a driver hadn’t stopped when ordered by the patrol officer:
Oliynyk: There’s four people, well, let’s start shooting, what can we do?
Feshchenko: What can we do?
Oliynyk: Enough is enough, you see, he’s also moving the wrong side. We’ll fucking shoot him, I’m telling you.
Feshchenko: I’ll beat the fuck out of him.
(Sounds of two shots, then two more a second later. Action takes place on the Victory Avenue in the center of Kyiv. Another shot—a polizei hits a road sign. In a second—six more shots)
Feshchenko (into the loudspeaker): Driver, move to the right, I’m warning you!
Oliynyk: I shot at him somewhat.
Feshchenko (to Oliynyk): Fire, asshole.
(Sounds of four shots)
Feshchenko: Wheels, shoot at wheels!
Oliynyk: Look, look. Careful, careful.
Feshchenko: Move it, move it. Fuck yeah. Come on, jump out.
Oliynyk (gets out of the car): Hands on your head!
(Four point blank shots at the car. The first one hit the front side window along with the driver. Five more hit the windshield as the car is backing up. Then, shots aimed at the passenger are heard. Nykytiuk, the third polizei, shots yet again four times, and the car stops.)
Nykytiuk: Stop, fucking stop!
(Oliynyk shoots at the rear right of the car)
Nykytiuk: Holy shit, I shot through the glass there. Tell him that I hit the mirror by chance. (laughter) We’re pressing here, I get out of the car and start pulling him out, Zheka runs up, you know, catches up with us, all these guys, gets out and starts popping again, at us, pal, at us.
Nykytiuk (to the arrested): Dude, you are lucky I didn’t hit you in the head, I mean it.
And now let’s read the Constitution of Ukraine, the Law of Ukraine “On the National Police,” and vehicle pursuit guidelines, and compare to what the polizeien did in practice.
Part 2 of Article 19 of the Constitution of Ukraine:
“Public authorities and organs of local self-government, their public servants are under an obligation to operate only on foundation, within the limits of plenary powers and in a method, that is foreseen by Constitution and laws of Ukraine.”
Part 4 of Article 46 of the Law of Ukraine “On the National Police”:
“A police officer is entitled in EXCEPTIONAL cases to use firearms: … to halt a vehicle BY DAMAGING IT [and certainly not by murdering a driver or, what’s worse, passengers] if a driver, through his actions, poses a threat to the life or health of people and/or police officer [the threat to the life and health of people came from the polizeien themselves].”
Part 7 of Article 46 of the Law of Ukraine “On the National Police”:
“A police officer is entitled to use firearms only with the intention of causing harm to an individual that is necessary and sufficient in such circumstances, in order to immediately prevent or stop the armed assault.”
Part 9 of Article 46 of the Law of Ukraine “On the National Police”:
“A police officer is prohibited from using firearms in places where harm can be caused to other people, as well as in flammable or explosive places, except in cases when required to repel an attack or under necessity.”
According to the Law of Ukraine “On the National Police,” a legal framework should have been developed by November 7, 2015 that would have regulated police operations, in particular, when it comes to pursuing vehicles. The person who set hands to developing this framework was madame Zguladze, who received a grant from the U.S. Embassy and, failing to meet the commitment, fled from Ukraine to France. That is why the police legal framework was absent at the time of Medvediev’s murder, and what was instead in effect were the Traffic Police Guidelines approved by Order 111 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of March 27, 2009. Section 16 of these Guidelines provided for vehicle pursuit. Concretely:
A patrol police officer has to:
16.3.4. Set the safe speed of a car (motorcycle) depending on the particular circumstances, taking into account creating maximum safety for other road users.
16.3.5. Pay maximum attention to actions of a pursued vehicle’s driver and passenger, as well as other road users; prevent emergencies.
16.3.7. After halting the pursued vehicle, follow the requirements of Section 23 of these Guidelines, as well as: immediately report to the officer on duty (unit commander) the location where the pursuit ended and at the same time decide if additional traffic police units are needed to help arrest the suspects; stop the patrol vehicle only behind the pursued vehicle, at least 10 meters in distance.
16.3.8. In case if a number of suspects in the pursued vehicle exceeds three, the suspects are being arrested only after an additional traffic or regional police unit arrives at the scene. Before such a traffic police unit arrives, the suspects are prohibited from leaving the vehicle. At that, the following command is issued: “Don’t move! Hands on your head!”
Notice that in the Law of Ukraine “On the National Police,” patrol police powers are not mentioned. What are listed there are powers of the central executive body. Which police department is to receive which powers is then decided by legal documents, since National Police consists not only of patrol police. It also includes finance and accounting department, pre-trial investigation divisions, operations divisions, property management department, special operations units, and lots of other stuff. If the law says that police is authorized to halt vehicles, this does not mean that this can be carried out by a patrol police officer, a detective, a forensic expert, or an accountant.
In the patrol police guidelines, there is nothing on compulsory halting road transport by patrol officers. This is because this lies beyond their power, as halting is carried out when there are terrorists or other armed felons in the car, and therefore halting should be left to special forces. And if the vehicle’s driver or passengers don’t pose any threat, then such a vehicle is simply being blocked. This is common practice, a vehicle blocking operation is run by a duty officer from the department with no shooting involved, let alone in the middle of a city.
However, there is no point in preaching elementary legal facts to professional civil activists or “Heavenly Hundred’s lawyers” who profit from glorifying lawlessness. When it comes to the rest of the citizens, not attended to by the U.S. Embassy, they have two options to protect themselves from “my new police”—either to emigrate or to get armed.