Justice: Acquittal for police inspector: Many losers

Volker Peterke will explain the acquittal for exactly 80 minutes.

Justice: Acquittal for police inspector: Many losers

Volker Peterke will explain the acquittal for exactly 80 minutes. 80 minutes in which spectators in the audience groan loudly again and again, shake their heads and protest.

"Shit, man!" shouts someone in a broad Swabian dialect when the judge announces his verdict on behalf of the people: acquittal. Acquittal for the country's highest-ranking police officer. acquittal in one

In doubt for the accused

It is a second-class acquittal, a confirmation of the presumption of innocence, true to the motto: in case of doubt for the accused. But after all the filthiness, intimate details and border crossings that the inspector's trial brought to light, there is no legal evidence that he was sexually assaulted.

As is so often the case when sexual assaults are to be clarified and statements are made against statements, this process dealt with the question of who the perpetrator and who the victim are. Has the inspector abused his position of power to indulge his sexual preferences on a subordinate? Or did the commissioner, who is 16 years his junior, seek him out that pub night in order to get ahead professionally?

Reputation and psyche destroyed

At the end of the day, this much is clear, there are only losers in this case. The career of the reporter is destroyed, she has been on sick leave for months due to mental problems. The reputation of the Baden-Württemberg police has been badly damaged, and a parliamentary committee of inquiry is currently uncovering increasingly serious structural deficiencies in the transport system for top police officers.

The police union is calling for the post of inspector to be abolished. Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CUD) is at times under enormous pressure for piercing a letter from a lawyer from the inspector.

And the inspector? He may be acquitted, but now the whole world knows about his extraordinary sexual preferences, which alone make a return to office difficult to imagine. The boulevard baptized the 50-year-old "penis policeman". Judge Peterke keeps talking about "urine sex" on Friday. Peterke sums up that the inspector got himself into the "messed up" situation through his own fault.

unrest in court

The judge repeatedly has to ensure order in the verdict, angrily bangs on the table in front of him and calls out "Quiet! Quiet! Quiet!". In the end he appealed: "It is important to us that our decision does not want to prevent victims of sexual offenses from reporting them, but on the contrary we want to encourage them."

But it is also important that victims of sexual offenses report the facts as they really were. Contrary to expectations, a video should not appear that contradicts previous statements. And that is exactly how it was in this case from the point of view of the court.

Rückblick

Ministry of the Interior, November 12, 2021. The inspector and the then 32-year-old policewoman are sitting in his office and talking about their careers. She wants to get into higher service, he wants to promote her. Colleagues come and go, several bottles of sparkling wine flow. The evening ends for the policewoman and the supervisor with a nightcap in a corner bar in the north of Stuttgart. At some point, according to her version, he tells her that he likes to watch attractive women pee. A camera over the counter records the two, filming them kissing and touching.

Over the course of the night, the two disappear together for five minutes in front of the door. What happens here is not filmed, but is the core of the charge: he is said to have urged her to hold his member while he peed against a house wall. He does not deny that this happened - but he says that the initiative came from her. Then the two sit back in - and continue snogging.

The pub video is the judge's key piece of evidence. Because on the blurry pictures, the tenderness looks consensual – throughout the evening, even after the two return from outside. According to the judge, there was nothing to be seen of the disgust that the complainant initially reported. "On the contrary," he says. Rather, she was flattered by the inspector's company, making it seem as if not only he found her attractive, but she found him attractive.

The judge thus paints the picture of an unbelievable witness who allows the situation that evening, even enjoys it, in order to then invent the "narrative" of sexual coercion - to appease a jealous ex-partner. The colleague who is actually married reacts very jealously when she tells him about the night with the inspector the next day. The policewoman presents herself to him as a victim who was trapped in the situation, paralyzed, unable to end the evening because she feared for her career - according to the judge.

The disciplinary process follows

The case is not over. The public prosecutor had demanded a suspended sentence of one year and three months - and now wants to appeal the verdict. Disciplinary proceedings await the inspector released from duty. However, according to the Ministry of the Interior, this will be suspended until all procedures have been legally completed.

The inspector looks relieved when he leaves the court on Friday. With his wife in tow - and no comment.

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