In Berlin, a murder commission from the State Criminal Police Office is investigating after a young person was shot by a federal police officer in the main train station at the weekend. A spokeswoman for the Berlin police confirmed this to the star. "Such investigations are mandatory in the case of firearms use by police officers."
The federal police were called to the Rossmann drugstore chain branch on a mezzanine floor of the main train station on Saturday afternoon. According to the federal police, the shop detective caught the young people stealing and held them in an adjoining room until the officers arrived (the star reported).
What exactly happened in the Rossmann branch is still unclear. "This is part of our investigation," said the spokeswoman for the Berlin police. The public prosecutor's office is also involved.
The Federal Police, whose officers are responsible for security at Berlin Central Station and were on duty at Rossmann's on Saturday afternoon, could provide clarification on what preceded the use of firearms. However, the only press release that was sent around 70 hours after the incident contains only scant information: "Saturday afternoon, around 2 p.m., federal police forces used the firearm to stop an attack with a knife. A 15-year-old teenager, who was found after an alleged shoplifting, despite being asked to drop the knife, moved towards the federal police officers with it in her hand. The young person received medical treatment as a result of an injury to her hand." The federal police do not want to provide any further information "due to the ongoing investigation".
So many questions about the operation, such as the psychological state of the young person or whether the incident was documented by cameras, remain in the dark for the public for the time being.
According to the Berlin fire brigade, there were almost 50 emergency services on site. In addition to the alleged shoplifter, other people were injured by the pepper spray used. According to the police, the teenager who was hit by the projectile was still being treated as an inpatient in the hospital on Sunday. It is not known how serious her injuries are.
Despite the lack of information, the operation triggered another discussion about the use of weapons by the police in Germany. While there was strong criticism of the use of firearms against a 15-year-old girl, especially on social networks, the police union stood behind the officers: "No police officer likes to shoot. Unfortunately, our colleagues also find themselves in such exceptional situations in which they can within a few moments have to make decisions and in which the use of firearms as a last resort can no longer be prevented," said spokesman Benjamin Jendro.
Most recently, charges were brought against a police officer in Dortmund for manslaughter. In August of last year, he killed a 16-year-old who was in a mental state of emergency with several shots from the submachine gun. According to the police, the youth is said to have attacked emergency services with a knife. The Dortmund public prosecutor's office does not believe this version of the officers deployed and does not assume that the police officer shot in self-defense.
After the indictment and independently of the most recent Berlin case, the Hamburg police scientist Rafael Behr called for a different approach by the police to alleged or actual knife attacks, especially by mentally ill people. "You can't solve all situations with maximum firepower, it also has to go down a level." Among other things, he recommended training police officers better for exceptional psychological situations.
Sources: Police Berlin, Federal Police Headquarters Berlin, Berlin Fire Department, Police Union, DPA news agency