The Global Spread of Police Brutality


Erin Slaughter, Student Writer

In case of an emergency, if you witness a crime, or if you are in a car accident and need immediate assistance, call the police. Those simple instructions have led the way for decades, but what once seemed so straightforward is now unclear and clouded with fear.

The western city of Dortmund, in Germany, now knows this newfound fear all too well and it has motivated them to hit the streets with protests and an immediate call for police brutality to end.

Tragedy and fear struck this city when a youth welfare facility called the police for help dealing with a youth who was experiencing mental distress. During the call, the facility reported the young man was threatening to harm himself and they needed assistance.

When police arrived on the scene, they reported that after unsuccess attempts to restrain the young man, he lunged toward officers with a knife and was fatally shot with an automatic pistol.

A year after the incident took place, some of those officers have now been charged with the teen’s death. On numerous media outlets websites, it reports that “the officer who fired the shots was being charged with manslaughter, while his superior officer was being charged with incitement to dangerous bodily harm. Three other officers were charged with dangerous bodily harm.”

Police brutality has been highlighted often in the news in the last few years. More specifically, police have been said to target African Americans and be the cause of some of their untimely deaths. The situation in Germany has led some to question if the teen was a white youth would he have been shot down in the same manner.

Although there are individuals who stand in support of the officers and say the teen posed a great threat, there are citizens and lawmakers as well that cannot wrap their minds around the events that unfolded that day. It is said that a deputy spokeswoman for the socialist Left Party in Germany’s federal parliament felt so passionate about the situation that she took to twitter to voice her opinions.

That tweet has been said to express that she feels that it was not explicable how the 11 police officers present did not succeed in taking a 16-year-old into custody without him being killed.” Dayja Saures, a law student at Thurgood Marshall school of law, currently in enrolled in a criminal procedure course also shares those same sentiments. When discussing her thoughts on how the case was handled, she goes on to say “her professor explicitly talks about criminal and police procedures and how the need from them to be equipped with compassion, and open minds and not just weapons, is an essential part of their job.”

The tension between the public and the police will die down over time. Protesters will return to their homes, and families will seek other alternatives for helping their loved ones. Those paid to protect and serve will continue their duties as well, with many questioning what and who they are protecting when they serve.