„Individual cases“ with a system: Fatal police violence in court

Event with the solidarity group Justice for Mouhamed (Dortmund) and the Initiative 2. Mai (Mannheim)

21 February, 7.30 pm
SO36, Oranienstraße 190, Berlin-Kreuzberg
With interpretation (EN/FR)
Free entry

Police violence against people who have experienced racism is systematic in Germany: they are disproportionately often among the victims of fatal police shootings, fatal police interventions and deaths in custody. In around three-quarters of these cases, the victims were in an exceptional psychological situation; an additional risk factor is the social marginalisation of those affected by poverty. After a fatal police operation, the police narrative that trivialises the violence and justifies it through a perpetrator-victim reversal often prevails in the public narrative. Investigations in such cases rarely lead to charges being brought against the perpetrators, and convictions are even rarer. It is therefore of particular importance that several court trials for lethal police violence are currently taking place under the auspices of a solidary trial monitoring.

In December, the criminal trial began in Dortmund against five police officers who used pepper spray and tasers on the young refugee Mouhamed Lamine Dramé from Senegal on 8 August 2022, ultimately killing him with five shots from a submachine gun. The 16-year-old was still handcuffed by Dortmund police when he was already dying. In addition, the officer in charge even kicked the boy, who was already lying on the ground. A carer testified to this as an eyewitness in court. He had called the police because he feared that Mouhamed could injure himself. Even the public prosecutor’s office considers the police’s actions to be excessive force. The gunman is therefore facing manslaughter charges, three officers for causing grievous bodily harm in the line of duty and the officer in charge for incitement.

Two police officers have been on trial in Mannheim since January. On 2 May 2022, they knocked over Ante P. with pepper spray and punches, held him prone on the ground, handcuffed him and – according to an expert opinion from the forensic medicine department in Heidelberg – suffocated him in the process. The 47-year-old had a mental illness for 33 years and had lived independently in his own flat . His attending physician at the Centre for Mental Health had called the police because he was concerned that Ante P. could put himself in danger. On the day of the crime, there were around 70 witnesses on the market square, a migrant neighbourhood in the city, who took 120 pictures and videos. It is also thanks to these recordings that a court case for assault causing death in the line of duty and involuntary manslaughter by omission has now been brought. Shortly before his death, Ante P. said: „I want a judge“.

In Dortmund and Mannheim, the solidarity groups are also supporting the victims‘ relatives‘ joint action. They are demanding justice for the victims and consequences for the perpetrators. At the event in SO36, they will report on the first days of the trial, the defence strategy of the accused and their experiences as trial monitors. In addition, the event will discuss political demands to effectively combat lethal police violence.

The event will be streamed live in German on YouTube. You can find the streaming link a few days in advance via the social media of the participating groups.

Organisers: Solidaritätskreis Justice for Mouhamed | Initiative 2. Mai | Zeitschrift Bürgerrechte & Polizei/ CILIP | Recherchegruppe Death in Custody | Grundrechtekomitee | KOP Berlin | ISKS Berlin | Rote Hilfe OG Berlin | Republikanischer Anwältinnen- und Anwälteverein | Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland

Image: Friedrich Kraft.

Institut für Bürgerrechte & öffentliche Sicherheit e.V.