Picture: Rough and angry: vigil on November 7th in front of the Wuppertal district court.
Wuppertal: death in police custody
Caravan for the rights of refugees and migrants: “We know all of this,” comments Araz Ardehali from the Wuppertal Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants. “We know the cases of Adel B. and Amed Ahmad and we know about the racist attacks by the Essen police just to stay in North Rhine-Westphalia.”
It is the third case in two years: The Wuppertal police are suspected of having killed a young Greek.
In the early morning of November 1, 25-year-old Giorgos Zantiotis died in Wuppertal after the police arrested him and separated him from his sister Maria. She did not find out about his death until hours later. According to the police, the young man "suddenly lost consciousness" after a blood sample and then died. Of third party fault? Of course none. A video recorded by the sister, on which you can both see officers kneeling on her brother and hear a colleague asking her to stop filming, had already been sent to Greek friends - luckily. The video soon landed on the Greek version of the left-wing platform Indymedia and found its way back to Germany: activists and journalists picked it up and hooked the police, who did not consider a report of the death to be necessary. Giorgos' death only became public knowledge after about a week.
Since then, two demonstrations have already taken place in Wuppertal. There were also protests in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin and Leipzig. The demonstrators, including Giorgos' sister, are calling for clarification. The case also preoccupies Greek politics: the left Syriza and the Communist Party (KKE) have asked Athens to put pressure on Berlin. The Greek ambassador has requested clarification from NRW Interior Minister Reul (CDU). It remains questionable whether he will comply with the request.
There are enough studies to show that police violence is commonplace in Germany and at the same time is hardly ever punished. The reasons range from the close relationship between politics, the judiciary and the police, to the good lobbying of the latter, to the fact that police officers are best able to withhold or falsify evidence and to intimidate plaintiffs and stuff. In the Giorgos case, too, the police have long since spread their version of the story, according to which the deceased was either drunk or drugged. However, the previous alcohol test was negative and the claim that he took drugs is based on an alleged testimony of the sister, who denies this. The officers received support from both the public prosecutor and Reul himself. At a 10-minute hearing in the state parliament on November 11, the latter declared that this “tragedy” should not be “spread”. He also expressed his condolences to the "traumatized" officers.
“We know all of this,” comments Araz Ardehali from the Wuppertal Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants. “We know the cases of Adel B. and Amed Ahmad and we know about the racist attacks by the Essen police just to stay in North Rhine-Westphalia.” In Wuppertal alone, Giorgos is only the third alleged fatality of police violence in the last two years: In December In 2019 officials shot a 25-year-old inside who was said to have damaged cars with a hammer and threatened passers-by. In June of this year, police broke into the apartment of a suspected mentally ill person and shot the 35-year-old with a submachine gun, allegedly in self-defense. In all of these cases, the suspected police officers received full support from above, despite evidence to the contrary. Not all of the victims of police violence are victims of racism, but their proportion is noticeably high. For Ardehali, the consequences of this situation are clear: “Should migrants still call the police? I would say no. Because then we are in danger. If we want thatwe and our children are safe, then we have to fight this system! In concrete terms, this means doing everything possible to ensure that Mr. Reul no longer governs and that clear and clear consequences are drawn: all racist structures in the authorities are dismantled, the authorities and the police under full visual surveillance and these data are made available to the victims' families. "
: Leon Wystrychowsk | bszonline