From file: Several hundred demonstrators protest outside a police station in Dortmund two days after the fatal police shooting of a 16-year-old | Photo: Roberto Pfeil/picture alliance/dpa
From file: Several hundred demonstrators protest outside a police station in Dortmund two days after the fatal police shooting of a 16-year-old | Photo: Roberto Pfeil/picture alliance/dpa

A German state politician has voiced "increasing doubts" about a fatal police operation in the city of Dortmund. In early August, a police officer shot a 16-year-old unaccompanied minor from Senegal several times after he allegedly approached officers with a knife.

The Interior Minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Herbert Reul, has voiced doubts about a police operation in front of a youth welfare facility in Dortmund that led to the death of a 16-year-old Senegalese at the beginning of August.

"Although doubts are increasingly arising for me as well, the presumption of innocence applies," Reul told the Welt newspaper on Sunday (September 18). The case is being investigated by prosecutors. The critical, but so far unanswered question, is whether the migrant approached the officers with a knife.

On August 8, caregivers had called police as they feared a suicide attempt by the 16-year-old, who was pointing a knife at his stomach. The police apparently first used tasers and tear gas before shooting. The victim, who appeared mentally distressed, had been staying in the youth welfare facility for a few days.

At the beginning of September, police in Dortmund announced that disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against five officers, news agency AFP reported. One officer had also been temporarily suspended from duty.

The unaccompanied minor was hit by four projectiles from a submachine gun and died in hospital. The shooting came on the heels of several other fatal incidents involving police and prompted protests and a debate about police brutality in Germany.

'Operation did not proceed properly

A few days ago, Carsten Dombert, the senior public prosecutor investigating the case, told the Spiegel weekly news magazine: "In my opinion, the operation did not proceed properly and I have doubts that proportionate action was taken here."

According to new information made public by the committee on legal affairs of the state Parliament in NRW, three minutes passed from the first contact between the officers and the 16-year-old and the deadly shots.

"I already have the impression [based on hitherto investigative findings] that a number of things might not have gone properly during this operation," state Interior minister Reul said earlier this month.

Until all the facts are clear, "I can't make any assessment yet," minister Reul told the Welt. Whether mistakes were made during the operation, and if so, which ones and who was responsible for them, has not yet been clarified, he said.

With AFP

 

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