In the case of the youth who was shot by the police, the Dortmund public prosecutor sees no evidence that the 16-year-old had previously posed a threat to the officers with his knife. "We have not been able to identify any self-defence or emergency aid situation on the part of the police officers," said senior public prosecutor Carsten Dombert on Wednesday. Even the use of tear gas and tasers was therefore disproportionate. Not the mildest means had been used. The use is therefore illegal, said Dombert. The shooter therefore made the decision himself to use the weapon. So he should not have shot on instruction.
It was announced on Tuesday that the public prosecutor's office had indicted five police officers who were involved in the August 2022 operation. As Dombert announced on Wednesday, the accused have still not commented on the allegations. The most serious charge is against the 29-year-old officer who shot the youth with a submachine gun. He is accused of manslaughter. The teenager died in hospital.
Two policewomen (28 and 31) and a policeman (32) are accused of causing dangerous bodily harm in office because of the use of tear gas or tasers. Charges were brought against the 54-year-old service group leader for inciting physical harm in office. According to Dombert, he is accused of directing the police's course of action during the operation. In particular, it is about the use of the irritant gas.
The case happened on August 8, 2022. The police were called to a youth welfare facility, where the young asylum seeker from Senegal is said to have initially threatened to kill himself with a knife. The operation initially ran as an intervention in a suicide attempt. The 16-year-old was shot at by the police with pepper spray and two tasers. Finally, a police officer shot him with a submachine gun, and the youth died in hospital.
The chief public prosecutor, Carsten Dombert, had already reported in September that the investigators quickly got the impression that "something could have gotten out of hand" during the operation. The proportionality was not observed. Initially, not the mildest means had been chosen to prevent the young man from committing suicide or to get possession of the knife. The public prosecutor's office in Dortmund did not comment on the indictment on Tuesday.
The three officers charged with dangerous bodily harm are about the use of pepper spray or tasers. According to earlier information from the public prosecutor's office, the service group leader, who is accused of inciting dangerous bodily harm, is said to have determined the choice of means and their sequence during the operation and given the command for spraying. Disciplinary proceedings had already been initiated against the five officers in September.
The youth from Senegal came to Germany a few months before his death as an unaccompanied minor refugee, and he was only in Dortmund a few days before the police operation. He is said not to have spoken German well.
Several points of the mission had caused criticism. It was about the fact that the police officers' body cams were not switched on. The question of how intervention in a suicide attempt could escalate in such a way as well as the martial-looking use of the MP5 submachine gun also caused dismay. Four projectiles hit the 16-year-old.