A food delivery driver has warned a police officer was physically aggressive to him because he drove through a closed-off road while delivering food to a customer in Valletta.
Gergő Horváth, a Hungarian national who has been working in Malta since the start of the year, said the incident occurred as he was delivering food to a customer towards the end of April.
He told Lovin Malta that he drove a road that is usually open to traffic but didn’t notice the cones delineating that it was closed off. A police officer stationed in the street allowed a pickup truck to pass through, leading Horváth to assume that he could do the same.
However, as he drove through, the police officer approached him and informed him the road was closed off. The driver told the officer that he just needed to deliver an order of food to a customer who lived round the corner and this was the only route to the client’s door which was accessible to traffic.
He said the officer started shouting at him to drive back repeatedly but he stood his ground and told him he was only going to park for a minute just to deliver the food.
“I saw a lot of cars parked in the street so I didn’t think it would be a problem,” he said in a statement to police afterwards.
“I turned my key to go to the left side of the street but he grabbed the key and switched off the engine. I told him to give me a ticket but that I must deliver this food. For me, the customer is a priority and I wouldn’t have minded getting a ticket as long as the customer was satisfied.”
Horváth got out of the car and tried to take his food delivery bag out but the police officer blocked him. He said he then tried to call the customer to tell him he was going to be late because he was held up by the police, and that the officer then turned aggressive.
“When I tried to walk up the road he grabbed me by the arm and pushed me back onto my car and asked me for my ID card but my card was inside the vehicle,” he said. “I tried to take my card out but he didn’t care, and after I explained to him many times that my card is in the car I managed to get my wallet and give him my details.”
The customer eventually came down for the food, the policeman then called for help and several other police officers rushed to the scene.
“They all came running out… it was like I had killed someone,” Horváth said.
As he tried to explain what happened to the other officers, he described the first officer’s reaction as “crazy”.
“I understand that COVID-19 is making everyone angry but his reaction was terrible for such a minor situation,” he told Lovin Malta. “I know I made a mistake but I couldn’t drive to the customer from another direction so I told him to give me a ticket. I repeatedly told him not to touch me.”
Horváth was taken into the police station for questioning, provided a statement and renounced his right to a lawyer.
“In my country, you only call a lawyer for a big problem and I didn’t see this as a big problem,” he explained.
He said he was told to await a court summons but wasn’t told whether he was being charged and if so, with what crime. A police spokesperson told Lovin Malta that investigations are ongoing.
What do you think of the incident?