Russian Drivers Used As 'Human Shields' By Police

05/11/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Moscow's police chief has been forced to apologize after allegations that motorists were ordered to move their vehicles into the path of a speeding getaway car, putting their vehicles, not to mention their lives, at extreme risk.

Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev's spokesman told Russian news agencies he had given a "stern reprimand" to traffic police chief Sergei Kazantsev, as well as apologizing to drivers whose cars were damaged. The car owners have also been given a certificate for their "heroic actions."

The incident occurred last Friday when several drivers were ordered by police to use their cars to block a major Moscow motorway. An Audi driven by suspected robbers smashed through the blockade at a high speed, leaving several cars were damaged, although no one was hurt.

According to reports, the owners of the ruined cars were told they would not be compensated for the damage.

One of the drivers, Stanislav Sutyagin, later posted a video on YouTube detailing the events. "We could have been killed. What if the criminals had stopped? We could have come under fire? Is it really the case that our lives are worthless in the Russian state?"

Sutyagin claimed that police officers had parked their own cars behind the citizens' cars, and also that one of the cars had been donated by a man driving his pregnant wife to hospital.

The video became a YouTube sensation, and many believe the case would not have been investigated further without it.

The latest event comes the same week that President Dmitri Medvedev was forced to intervene in a car crash involving a top Lukoil executive that killed two women, and was initially not investigated by police, despite a huge public outcry.

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