Hints of racist actions by German police officers, study says

by Thorsten Koch

According to Tobias Singelnstein (Ruhr-Uni Bochum) there are indications of racism by German police officers. Non-white people are discriminated against far more often than whites. This is the preliminary result of the study, initially on physical injuries by police officers, which, although not representative, is based on an online survey of around 3,400 people as well as 17 scientific interviews with police officers. The study was initially supposed to provide insights into criminally relevant police violence.

Black people disproportionally controlled without reason

He who is not perceived as German in terms of appearance often becomes a victim of power relations with regard to racism and is more often controlled without cause than are whites. At 28 percent, black people are twice as likely to be subject to identity checks than people without a migration background. In addition, the victims are victims of unsubstantiated allegations, explained lawyer Blaise El Mourabit. For example, people are being addresses without respect and it is claimed by police that they carry drugs. El Mourabit asked for body cams to be mandatory to record violations of fundamental rights by police officials.

Police do not admit to their behavior

There is a strong discrepancy in view between the civil servants and those controlled. Police in question do not perceive their behavior as discriminatory, according to the study, while people of color are very sensitive to the violation of their rights. What is more, racially motivated police excess is often not legally prosecuted, or investigations are stopped without any formal result.

According to the sociology Astrid Jacobsen (Police Academy Lower Saxony), this “structural problem” does not mean that the officers all act wrongly and discriminated against people. Nevertheless, there is an enormous amount of catching up to do in studies of police misconduct, Jacobsen said. Police officers are under time pressure and are often overwhelmed. Experts consider the forthcoming study on racism in society, supported by Federal Minister of the Interior Seehofer, to be too imprecise and insufficient to deal with the structural problem that exists within the police.

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