Police violence: in Germany, “in the event of assault and battery, investigations are never carried out by the police themselves”

Two weeks after the death of young Nahel, killed by a policeman in Nanterre, the bosses of the IGPN and the IGGN had to explain themselves on Wednesday July 12 before the law commission of the National Assembly. The police force and its equivalent gendarmerie were seized of 22 investigations into the actions of the police, after the riots which set France ablaze. According to the IGPN, 37 people died during a police mission in 2021 compared to only eight in Germany, which does not manage the overflows of the police in the same way.

The “de-escalation” strategy

The police are your friend“, says the slogan in our neighbors. In the field, the police do not have flashballs or defense ball launchers, the police act with words rather than with weapons. This so-called strategy “de-escalation“However, does not prevent police violence. In the most serious cases, in addition to the internal investigation, the prosecutors at the regional level then take over the cases.

As Heiko Teggatz, vice-president of the German police union, explains, “in the event of assault and battery or the use of firearms while on duty, investigations are carried out exclusively by the public prosecutor and by independent courts, never by the police themselves, for a question of neutrality, separation powers”.

>>> Police violence: Frédéric Péchenard does not believe in “independent control” of the police, “a perfectly useless additional layer”

Penalties range from a simple fine to lifetime disbarment and imprisonment. But in fact, convictions are rare, as are cases involving the police. According to Andrea Kretschmann, sociologist and researcher at the Marc Bloch Center in Berlin, the German police favor prevention: “There are small groups that practice how to deal with people blocking a street, how to make them obey the police, how to clear a blockage without using excessive force. Here, the dominant image is that we want to establish security and order in the most civil way possible.

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