There were indications, now it is certain: The police officers who shot a 16-year-old youth while on duty in a youth welfare facility in Dortmund must expect serious criminal consequences. The public prosecutor's office has brought charges against the shooter - manslaughter. Three other officers involved in the operation were charged with dangerous bodily harm, the service group leader with incitement to dangerous bodily harm. The Bochum lawyer Michael Emde, who represents one of the five accused police officers, confirmed to the German Press Agency on Tuesday that the charges had been received. "Bild" and WDR had previously reported.
The police were called to a youth welfare facility on August 8, 2022, where the young refugee 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 fired 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. On Tuesday, the public prosecutor's office in Dortmund did not comment on the indictment.
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 had come to Germany as an unaccompanied minor refugee a few months before his death; 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.