Reykjavík Jail Cells Empty Last Weekend

police car

The closure of bars and clubs due to COVID-19 seems to have lightened the workload for police in the Reykjavík capital area last weekend. The region’s jail cells were all empty last Saturday night, a rare occurrence when the town’s watering holes are open for business.

A press release from capital area police sent at 5.00am on Sunday morning reported that jail cells were empty in the region and had been so since Saturday. On-duty officer Hallgrímur Hallgrímsson who sent out the notice stated that he could not remember another occasion when all the city’s jail cells were empty on a Saturday night.

Bars and clubs in the capital area have been closed for several weeks in an attempt to tackle the third wave of COVID-19. Measures appear to be having an effect, as active case numbers have been dropping since October 17.

State Sentenced to Pay Compensation for 13-Hour Detainment

The district court of Reykjavík has sentenced the Icelandic government to pay ISK 100,000 [$902.53; €777.41] in damages to a man who was held in a prison cell for thirteen hours after being arrested. RÚVreports that the judge determined that police had not shown sufficient cause to hold the plaintiff for so long.

The man was arrested following an incident at his home in December of 2012. The man’s wife had called 112 [the emergency line] and screams and noise were heard in the background before the call was cut off. Two police officers were sent to the home under the assumption that there was a domestic violence situation in progress. The man tried to attack the officers, who held him down and then took him to the station, where he was held in a jail cell. It appears, however, that no attempt was made to interrogate the man, and nothing in the police report explains why he was held for so long.

The man was also petitioning for compensation for the use of what he claimed was unnecessary force in his arrest. This claim was rejected by the judge, as police were able to prove that he had been extremely agitated at the time of arrest, and had exhibited threatening behavior when he attempted to attack the officers.