Dortmund: Police officers probably did not activate bodycams in the case of a fatal operation

Deadly police operation: Police officers are said not to have turned on bodycams

During the operation in Dortmund, in which a youth was shot, according to the police, no policeman had turned on his body cam (symbol image)

© Kay Nietfeld / DPA

A 16-year-old was killed in a police operation in Dortmund – cameras could have provided information about the process. But now it turns out that the police officers’ body cams were not activated – because of “stress”, as they say.

In a deadly police operation in Dortmund, the body cameras of the officers involved were not switched on. The German press agency learned this from investigators. The “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” had previously reported. Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) has meanwhile informed state parliament politicians in a letter about the incident in Dortmund.

In case of doubt, the cameras on the police officers’ vests could have provided more information about the operation in which a 16-year-old Senegalese man was fatally injured by five bullets. According to investigators, the use of the Dortmund police was initially not suitable for a body cam – since the young person apparently wanted to kill himself with a knife. When the situation changed and the 16-year-old approached the police officers with the knife, the situation became so stressful for the officers within seconds that nobody thought of the bodycam.

Youth shot dead with submachine gun

The public prosecutor’s office in Dortmund and the uninvolved police in Recklinghausen are currently reconstructing what happened on Monday last week. According to the investigation so far, the 16-year-old approached the police with a knife despite the use of pepper spray and tasers. A police officer stationed for security had fired his submachine gun six times, five bullets hit the youth. He died.

Interior Minister Reul meanwhile replied to a letter from the deputy SPD parliamentary group leader Elisabeth Müller-Witt and briefly summarized the events in Dortmund in a letter available to the dpa. A copy of the letter was sent to the heads of the other parliamentary groups.

Reul emphasizes the presumption of innocence

In the letter, Reul summarized the details that were already known and emphasized the presumption of innocence that applies to the police officer with the submachine gun. The State Criminal Police Office is accompanying the investigations by the Recklinghausen homicide squad, which represents an “additional neutral investigative body”.

SPD politician Müller-Witt was not satisfied with Reul’s letter. There are still “many unanswered questions”. Reul said “not a word” about the body cams. Therefore, the state parliament will “of course have to continue to deal with this terrible case.”


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