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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Beat and Handcuff Boy

NTVNikita Gladyshev, seen on NTV, said the officers threatened to strangle him.
Two police officers beat up a 12-year-old boy in the stairwell of a central Moscow apartment building and then kept him handcuffed at a police station for several hours.

The incident, like many other incidences of police violence, might have gone unnoticed. But in this case the boy's mother was a court marshal.

The two officers, who have been identified only as sergeants Ryabov and Starkov, were in custody on Monday and facing charges of assault and illegal detention. Mayor Yury Luzhkov has called on police and prosecutors to seek the maximum punishment.

The boy, Nikita Gladyshev, was under the care of the country's top pediatrician, Leonid Roshal.

The two officers arrived at the apartment building on Novoryazanskaya Ulitsa, near the Komsomolskaya metro station, at around 3:30 p.m. on April 6, in response to an alarm that went off in an apartment they had been assigned to guard, City Prosecutor's Office spokesman Sergei Marchenko said on Monday.

The officers were employed by the police guard service, or vnevedomstvennaya okhrana.

"It was a false alarm," Marchenko said. "While the officers were looking around the area, they saw him."

Marchenko said the officers forcefully detained Gladyshev and handcuffed him, which he said was illegal.

Gladyshev said he was leaving his apartment to meet up with friends when the officers passed him in the stairwell and asked what he was doing there.

"I told them I live here, and then they asked me in which apartment, if any adults were at home, and if I had keys to the apartment," Gladyshev said in an interview published Thursday in Gazeta.

Gladyshev said the officers began punching and kicking him in the head and torso when he tried to return to his apartment. "One of them put me in a chokehold, and the other one put my arms behind my back and handcuffed me," he said.

Marchenko said the boy was put in a car and taken to the Basmanny police precinct.

Gladyshev told Gazeta that during the ride the officers threatened to strangle him and bury his body near Lokomotiv Stadium.

Regina Yermolayeva, a witness at the precinct, said she saw Gladyshev sitting on a chair, screaming and protesting his innocence.

"I went up to the police officer who was next to him and said: 'He's uncomfortable and in pain. Take off the handcuffs,'" Yermolayeva said on NTV television on Sunday.

The officer replied that Gladyshev had attacked them, she said.

Gladyshev's mother, Kira Gladysheva, works as a court marshal in central Moscow, according to news reports.

After his parents were notified, the boy was taken that evening to the St. Vladimir Children's Hospital but subsequently moved to the children's surgery and trauma department of the Academy of Medical Science, which is headed by Roshal.

"Every year, we treat around 60,000 children, and in the clinic's 20 years I have never seen a child who was beaten up by police," Roshal said by telephone Monday. "This is the first time I have seen such a thing."

Roshal said Gladyshev suffered from bumps and bruises, but not a concussion, and that the boy was preparing to leave the clinic later in the day.

"But he needs psychological counseling, which our doctors are providing," Roshal said. "After he checks out, he will be visiting our clinic regularly for counseling sessions."

Roshal declined to say whether Gladyshev's injuries were consistent with the reports of police abuse, saying that was for investigators to determine.

Police officers are notorious for using excessive force, but officers are rarely charged with brutality. Abusive officers who deal with minors tend to hit them in the stomach or between the shoulder blades to minimize bruising. Homeless children have also been targets, but they very rarely file complaints.

At a news conference Saturday, Luzhkov said City Hall would demand action from senior city police officials.

"We will appeal to the Interior Ministry for these policemen to receive the maximum punishment," Luzhkov said, RIA-Novosti reported.

The incident has been classified as a case of police brutality. If charged and convicted, the officers could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Natalya Demyanchuk, a spokeswoman for the Moscow city police guard service, referred all questions Monday to the central district branch of the city police. Calls to the branch went unanswered, as did calls to the Basmanny district police precinct, where the two officers were based.

Officers of the Interior Ministry's police guard service are private security guards who protect apartment buildings as well as private and state-run companies and organizations.

Founded in 1952 under Josef Stalin to protect so-called socialist property -- railroad cargo, pipelines, museums, government buildings and other state-owned goods and property -- the agency was allowed in 1969 to expand its activity to installing alarms, monitoring homes and standing sentry outside entryways, all for a modest fee.

The agency's Moscow city branch has more than 44,000 officers and civilian employees, according to its web site.

Last month, prosecutors charged three of the service's officers with holding a woman captive for two days in a dacha outside Moscow and raping her repeatedly.