«I saw a puddle of blood in front of me.» A resident of St. Petersburg claims that the police whacked his head during the arrest of punk band fans


14 July 2023


Yury Samokhvalov recalls seeing blood in front of his face, as he was lying on the pavement near the police bus. Young people who came to the concert or were just near the club were taken to that bus. According to Mr. Samokhvalov, officers in masks knocked him to the ground when he tried to snap a cell phone video of the detainees being beaten.

On 4 June 2023, supporters of politician Aleksey Navalny announced a series of protests in Russia. On this day in St. Petersburg, police squads were strengthened. Consequently, the police came to Ligovsky Prospekt — an avenue filled with several bars and clubs. At about 19:00, 34-year-old Yury Samokhvalov and his friends arrived at the concert of the Russian punk band «Neispravnost». A passerby told them that the police were randomly arresting people of «informal appearance» near that club. Thus, the young people went to the first floor of a shopping center to decide what to do next. There they were seen by officers in black uniforms and masks and asked to show their IDs, as Yury recalls. Mr. Samokhvalov, in his turn, demanded them to introduce themselves, so one of the officers showed him his badge. However, Yury did not memorize the officer’s personal info. The young people’s passports were taken away and they were requested to enter the police bus.

The CCTV footage obtained by the Crew Against Torture demonstrates how the policemen bring groups of young people into the bus. None of the detainees resist. At some point, Yury and his friend appear on the video, but then Yury goes behind the bus and disappears from the camera’s field of view. As Mr. Samokhvalov recalls, he was standing in line for the bus entry when he heard the screams of his girlfriend. The young woman allegedly asked not to beat one of the detainees.

Yury recalls: «I took out my phone to film what was happening. Subsequently, one of the officers, who was in a black uniform, tried to take my phone away and knocked me to the ground. Then the policemen twisted my hands behind my back and told me not to move. While lying on the pavement, I saw a spreading puddle of blood in front of me and realized that my forehead had been cracked

Mr. Samokhvalov asked to call an ambulance, but instead he was taken to the bus and brought into the 76th police station of the Tsentralny District. At the station, as Mr. Samokhvalov recalls, all the detainees were taken to the assembly hall.

«I was dizzy and nauseous, my forehead was cut. Then again I asked the officer to call me an ambulance.»

The medics arrived at the police station around 21:00. Yury was handed over to them, and the reasons for his arrest remained unknown to him. Yury was taken to the Mariinsky hospital, where the doctors sewed up his wounded forehead and made a bandage. Due to a head injury, Yury was on sick leave for 15 days.

The lawyers of the CAT lodged a crime report with the Investigative Committee and the Internal Security Division of the St. Petersburg Police Department.

The CAT lawyer indicates the following: «I see this story as an ordinary one – and that makes it terrible. St. Petersburg during the days of public events traditionally turns into the epicenter of police mayhem. The officers check the IDs of everyone in a row, inspect personal belongings, and those who express discontent or resist are arrested. That is exactly what has happened on the 4th of June: policemen arrested everyone who, by their looks, did not fall under the standard of a trustworthy citizen

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