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GORKI, March 1 (Itar-Tass) — President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Sergei Umnov chief of St Petersburg and Leningrad region police, the Kremlin press service reported on Thursday.
His predecessor Mikhail Sukhodolsky, who headed city police from June 2011, was relieved of his duties on February 10. The Interior Ministry did not rule out that he would be have to leave the police ranks.
The decision to fire Sukhodolsky was made after a large check into Petersburg police work. It came hard on heels of the incident in which an adolescent died after battery at a police station.
The tragedy occurred overnight to Sunday, January 22. Police testified they had witnessed an incident in which a local resident was robbed by an eighth-form pupil and his accomplice. The adolescent tired to escape, but police detained and used force on him. He was brought to a police station where officers questioned him. As the boy's health deteriorated, police called an ambulance.
The boy died on his way to hospital.
Soon thereafter, the SK department for St. Petersburg reported that the crime had been solved. Police Lieutenant Denis Ivanov and his colleagues initially obstructed the investigation and insisted that they had used force on the boy only when they were detaining him. However, acknowledging solid evidence to the contrary, he confessed to severely beating the adolescent using the shaft of a broom and his fists. He was unable to explain his motives, the SK said.
Denis Ivanov was relieved of his duties "for the fault which is dishonorable for police officer."
On February 29, another suspect in the case was arrested, Police Major Oleg Prokhorenko, 39, who is deputy chief of St Petersburg's police department # 75.
The SK initiated criminal proceedings over the death of Nikita Leontyev under Article 111, Part 4 of Russia’s Criminal Code /"malicious infliction of grave bodily harm, which resulted in the victim's death by negligence"/.
After the incident, a number of Nevsky district police officials were disciplined, and precinct head Valery Belotserkovsky stepped down.
Acting deputy chief of police department # 75 Alexei Malykh was fired for "failing to stop the illegal actions by Lieutenant Denis Ivanov and provide assistance to the underage detainee."
On February 6, reports said Malykh had died in hospital of "natural causes."
After Sukhodolsky stepped down, Umnov has been acting Petersburg and Leningrad region police chief.