Central Council of German Sinti and Roma demands complete clarification of police violence against a Roma family in Freiburg

On Tuesday, 28 April 2020, several members of a Roma family were injured, some of them seriously, during an operation by the police and public order office near Freiburg. A 48-year-old man suffered severe injuries from bites by a police dog, two women and another man were injured by beatings. The police intervention took place on the occasion of a trivial incident which is said to have involved a parking issue in front of the injured party’s home. The officers involved are said to have acted aggressively from the outset and deliberately escalated the situation, in the course of which a police dog was set upon the man and his family members were beaten with fists. The injuries were treated and documented in a hospital.

The injured parties later visited a police station to file criminal charges. After they had described the facts of the case, however, the police officer(s) allegedly dismissed them.

The chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Romani Rose, clearly criticizes this completely disproportionate action of these police officers and explains: “This incident must be completely investigated so that the trust of our minority in the police is not damaged. If the allegations were true, we would have to deal with cases of dangerous or serious assault and coercion. If the acceptance of the criminal complaint of this incident by the Freiburg police has indeed been refused, there is also the suspicion of attempted obstruction of justice in office by other police officers.

The Central Council therefore turns to Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of the Interior, Thomas Strobl, and to Freiburg’s Police President, Franz Semling, with the request for comprehensive clarification.  Romani Rose had recently expressed his appreciation for the careful investigations into the arson attack on a Roma family by the police office in Ulm.

The current discrimination report of the ‘Roma Büro Freiburg’ shows that discrimination by the Freiburg police and disproportionately excessive police measures against Sinti and Roma are no isolated cases. There are numerous cases documented for the area of Freiburg alone. The use of dog teams and even the police special forces (SEK) against Sinti and Roma is documented in the report with statements of affected persons. Due to the increasing open antigypsyism in Freiburg in several areas of life the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma therefore also turns to the anti-discrimination office of the federal government as well as the state of Baden-Württemberg and Freiburg in order to have the situation of the minority in Freiburg examined.

For the year 2019, the Federal Government has counted 78 antigypsyistic motivated crimes. In view of the small number of documented cases, a high number of unreported cases can be assumed. For only a fraction of the crimes is reported by those affected or classified and reported by law enforcement agencies as antigypsyistically motivated. “Minorities in Germany are particularly dependent on compliance with the rule of law, especially by the police authorities. For this reason, the past and present of Sinti and Roma must be included in the training and further education of civil servants in order to achieve an equal relationship. As citizens of this country we must be able to rely on the fact that our police authorities are just as committed to democracy as to the prosecution of crime”, said Rose.