Protesters yesterday filed claims for compensation over alleged police abuse during the crackdown on activists occupying the Executive Yuan in 2014, amid continued frustration over the government’s investigatation of the incident.
Protesters filed 31 suits at the Taipei District Court, just prior to the expiration of the two year statute of limitations, following the breakdown of settlement negotiations with the Taipei City Government.
The Taipei City Government in August last year chose not to appeal a court ruling awarding Lin Ming-hui (林明慧), a teacher from Taichung, NT$300,000 in a case he won against police for their excessive use of force in violation of the Act Governing the Use of Police Weapons (警械使用條例), during a police crackdown against activists occupying the Executive Yuan.
The incident was the Sunflower movement’s most violent episode, with estimates of injuries varying from 100 to several hundred.
The new compensation claims come as criminal suits against the police force stumble in court, allegedly because of government foot-dragging and the difficulty in identifying individual police officers accused of beating activists.
“Because police officers covered their badge numbers, the National Police Agency says it cannot determine who they were. We have no way to call to account officers responsible for using violence and abusing their authority, if it was their decision,” said National Chengchi University student Liao Ko-hua (廖科驊), who alleged that he was beaten repeatedly by police despite being located on Beiping E Road outside of the Executive Yuan complex, adding that police stopped him and others from leaving the site before the crackdown started.
Restoration of Taiwan Social Justice (台左維新) convener Aman Wu (吳濬彥) said he was frustrated by the government’s continued failure to investigate police misconduct.
“As activists, we are willing to shoulder lawsuits and other consequences of civil disobedience, but what is frustrating is that we still do not know which police officers beat us and no one has come forward to take responsibility,” he said, adding that he had been targeted with a lawsuit only after filing criminal charges against police.
Apart from Sunflower movement celebrities, most of the more than 100 people facing criminal charges were targeted because they visited emergencies rooms after being injured or because they filed criminal charges against police violence, he said.
“Today is the second anniversary of the violent expulsion of activists from the Executive Yuan, but we still do not have anything close to the full picture (真相) of what happened,” said Chen Yu-fan (陳雨凡) the deputy executive director of the Judicial Reform Foundation which has organized the activists’ defense teams of volunteer lawyers.
“All of the documentation is closed because of ongoing prosecutions. The Legislative Yuan cannot subpoena documents and the Control Yuan says that because documentation cannot be made public, it has to temporarily halt its investigation — so where can we turn for help?” Chen said.
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