Criminal charges against five police officers of the police station Nord in Dortmund!

Press release of the solidarity group (Solidaritätskreis) Mouhamed, February 14, 2023

On February 14, there have been new developments in the investigation concerning the violent death of the 16 year old Mouhamed Lamine Dramé who was was killed by the police on August 8, 2022. 

The conclusion of the investigation has been postponed for several months and the results have been announced only now, instead of at the end of october 2022. The charges will be as follows:

Mouhamed’s death on 08.08.2022 was a homicide ordered by the officer-in-charge with preceding bodily injury by pepper spray and taser. According to press reports, in addition to the shooter charged of manslaughter, the officer-in-charge is also accused with inciting dangerous bodily harm. In addition, three other police officers must answer charges for dangerous bodily injury.

We consider this a success in the processing of deadly police brutality!

„The indictment is a logical consequence considering everything we know about Mouhamed’s death. Nevertheless, we are convinced that this is an achievement of the public pressure we have built up during the last months.“ says Sarah Claßmann, spokesperson for the solidarity group.

The results of the criminal investigation now confirm previous evaluations of the death of Mouhamed by leading criminologists. As studies of Tobias Singelnstein have already shown, the criminal prosecution of police officers accused of excessive violence is an absolute rarity. This is the reason why we welcome the results of the investigation led by prosecutor Dombert who raised doubts about the police operation already early on during the investigation.

Nevertheless, we want to stress that the results have been delayed again and again and have finally been released more than three 3 months later than originally anounced. This has been very challenging, particularly for Mouhamed’s family. Despite the succesful investigative work, which also demanded great public pressure, we still criticize the common practice of police departments investigating each other. These are not independent and objective investigations. We therefore strongly demand independant investigative institutions. 

Despite all this, we want to emphasize that the official assessment of Mouhamed’s death as a homicide is a big step towards a critical public perception of deadly police violence. Until now, this has been nearly impossible in our society, because it undermines the whole trust of the population. Therefore, this can initiate reforms of the operational protocols and can enable a critical examination of the institution police.

Importantly, the Minister of the Interior in NRW, Herbert Reul must now again be brought into critical focus.  

Already on the day after the homicide the minister put himself protectively in front of the police officers. According to Reul, they had „entrenched themselves in a corner, while being attacked by a person storming towards them with a knife“. This narrative has been disproved by the evidence so quickly that the minister himself had to hide behind the statement: He had only reproduced what the Dortmund Police had reported to him.

This unreflected form of loyality between politics and police is exemplary of the problems that run through our institutions.

To us, it is the responsibility of politicians to evaluate each situation objectively and also to create a professional distance between the legislative and executive branches.

This task apparently goes beyond the capabilities of this Minister of the Interior. His initial statements have shaped a public picture of Mouhamed as an agressive teenager who assaulted the police – an image that Mouhamed’s family and supporters have been trying to deconstruct ever since.

Herbert Reul seems to be unaware of the political and emotional impact these statements have on the family.

Here, the Minister of the Interior serves racist stereotypes that shape the perception of young migrants and refugees in North Rhine-Westphalia. An apology or reflection of this wrongful framing has not followed so far.

„We will closely monitor the trial and continue to try to incorporate the wishes of Mouhamed’s family.“ says Sarah Claßmann, spokesperson of the solidarity group. We will fight for justice for Mouhamed and hope that through this exemplary prosecution, offenders in other cases of deadly police violence will also face consequences.

No justice, no peace

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