Moscow police to step up fight against ethnic crime - official

Moscow police chief Anatoly Yakunin has promised to step up the crackdown on ethnically motivated crime in the city. He visited the officer hurt in the detention of a suspected rapist at the Matveyevsky market.

Moscow police chief Anatoly Yakunin has promised to step up the crackdown on ethnically motivated crime in the city. He visited the officer hurt in the detention of a suspected rapist at the Matveyevsky market.

"We will bolster our fight against crime at every market in the city and our fight against ethnic crime as a whole," Yakunin said on Tuesday.

In his words, 250 criminal cases have been opened this year against illegal immigrants.

The injured policeman and his colleagues who conducted the arrest on Saturday will be awarded for their bravery, Yakunin said.

He said he had dismissed the Ochakovo-Matveyevskoye police department chief for his failure to maintain law and order in that area.

"The same will happen to other chiefs who are unable to patrol city markets. We shall evaluate their organization skills within a month," Yakunin said. He wished a quickest possible recovery to the officer.

Reports said earlier that approximately two dozen people with origins in the southern regions of Russia clashed with police at the Matveyevsky market on July 27 trying to free a man suspected of raping a 15-year-old girl.

Several women and a man attacked a police officer and one of them struck the policeman on the head presumably with brass knuckles. The officer sustained a severe head injury and was taken to a hospital's intensive care unit.

The Russian Investigative Committee Main Department for Moscow initially opened a criminal case on the charge of violence against a police officer. The counts were later changed to the more severe charge of an attempt on the life of a law enforcement officer.

Police have detained two individuals, the one suspected of the rape and the other suspected of attacking the police officer. After this, under the order of Interior Ministry's Main Department Head for Moscow Anatoly Yakunin, police began to carry out large-scale raids in order to decriminalize Moscow's markets.

The chief of Moscow's Ochakovo-Matveyevskoye police department was dismissed, a Moscow Police spokesman told Interfax.

"The head of the Moscow Police has dismissed the chief of the Ochakovo-Matveyevskoye police department. Inquiries have been started with regards to police officials in Moscow's Western Administrative District. The results will be made known to the public through the media and public organizations," he said.

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