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When are police officers charged?

Impunity is a declaration of bankruptcy of the much-vaunted rule of law and a carte blanche for perpetrators:inside in Uniform. Immediately after the G20 summit in Hamburg, dozens of Videos, photos and eyewitness reports surfaced in which cases of alleged illegal police violence were documented. The sometimes brutal Videos sparked a nationwide debate about police violence.

Three years later, the investigation is almost complete. The sad result: of the 169 proceedings initiated, 133 of them for assault in office, not a single one has so far led to charges.

When are police officer charged

Perpetrators could often either not be identified or the investigating authorities considered the use of force justified. 120 procedures have now been discontinued. This is clear from the answers to a big question from the Left faction in Hamburg. The only criminal warrant issued was against a police officer who injured another police officer’s Finger.

In order to get a sense of what kind of violence the prosecution considers justified, one has to look at the examples.

The mildest means?

A woman in red leggings and a blue Shirt had climbed onto a police car. It is beyond dispute that the police are allowed to take action here.

The principle of proportionality in police action states that the police, as the bearer of the monopoly on violence, must always use the mildest means that is suitable and necessary to achieve the objective of a measure. Police officers do not have the right to implement the easiest, most convenient, most effective and fastest measure for them.

In a longer Video you can see that the police are not under pressure or being attacked. A policeman addresses the woman on the tank, a little later about 30 more policemen and two water cannons appear. The mildest means is quite obvious, that the police now addresses the woman once more and then with policeman with the use of simple force fetches from the roof of the tank.

When are police officer charged

Instead, two officers resort to pepper spray, an irritant classified by the federal court as a “dangerous tool” and whose non-police use regularly leads to convictions for grievous bodily harm. The stimulant causes severe physical pain, in addition, complications with death can occur in certain health conditions.

Pepper spray is obviously not the mildest means, but in the response of the red-green Senate it says: the “use of pepper spray against Person on space armor was justified”.

Beat up and move on

In the case of the” man with purple hair and leg splint”, several officers hit a Person, throwing them to the ground, kicking them with a kick and several punches in the face. The police eventually let go of him and just keep going. It thus looks like a punitive measure.

Here, too, the investigation process was stopped “because the police measures were justified,” the answer says.

There are numerous cases like this.

When are police officer charged

After this “reappraisal” of the police violence in Hamburg, we have to ask: what else do police officers actually have to do to ensure that a measure is no longer considered justified?

In every fifth case, police officers remain unidentified

In addition to the decisions that such brutal methods should be justified, the state of the investigation reveals another Problem: many alleged perpetrators:inside in Uniform can not be identified in the first place.

In 24 cases of the 120 closed trials, the police officers could not be found. This is one in five investigations.

With a consistent labelling obligation of police officers this investigation gap could be closed in many cases. However, there is no interest in this on the part of the police, police unions and conservative security policy, the labelling is denigrated as “general suspicion”. To date, several federal states and the Federal Police have no labelling obligation.

When are police officer charged

“Declaration of bankruptcy of the rule of law“

The Republican Lawyers ' Association (RAV) speaks of a “Farce"when dealing with police violence at the G20 summit. It is not an investigation, but rather the “comprehensive immunization of the police against any prosecution”. Philipp Krüger of Amnesty International calls the review so far"a declaration of bankruptcy of the rule of law”.

Deniz Celik of the Left party group in Hamburg tells netzpolitik.org” it is unbelievable that not a single policeman has been charged.“The current structures for dealing with and prosecuting police violence are apparently completely unsuitable.

When are police officer charged

The Signal emanating from Hamburg is fatal: police officers can be sure that, even in clear cases, they do not have to fear prosecution and enjoy the backing of politicians. While the “whole harshness of the rule of law” is repeatedly put into position against alleged perpetrators of violence:inside the demonstrators, the latter remains dizzy and toothless in the prosecution of crimes by police officers.

However, a state governed by the rule of law is characterized by the fact that it creates binding rules for all and also subjugates the state bodies to them. The rule of law, so often invoked, otherwise becomes a hollow Phrase, which serves only the “disavowal of the political opponent, who is thereby stamped into the inner enemy”, as Danijel Majic aptly wrote after the G20 summit.

There are ideas for reform

The state’s handling of the police violence in Hamburg makes it clear that something must change if we do not want to give the police a carte blanche for violent acts against protesters in the future.

In a democracy, there are many possible reform approaches that can curb the extent of illegal police violence. This starts with little things, such as setting the hurdles for the use of pepper spray higher and recording its use and the resulting damage. A labelling requirement would at least offer the Chance that offenders can be identified in Uniform.

When are police officer charged

We could roll back police powers or strengthen the basic rights of demonstrators. We could stop the militarization of the police, fight racism with anti-discrimination laws or try to change the Cop Culture in the training of the police. There are many approaches.

The Pseudo-investigation of Hamburg shows above all one thing: we need as soon as possible independent complaint offices from the police, so that the police do not investigate against themselves and, as in Hamburg, even the most serious violations of law are swept under the table.