km. During the night from Saturday to Sunday, 20/21 June 2020, there massive riots took place in Stuttgart’s city centre, causing quite a stir beyond the state borders. Three different press releases issued by the Stuttgart Police Headquarters on 21 and 22 June include the following statements:
“During the night from Sunday to Sunday there were considerable attacks on police officers, patrol cars and shops in the centre of Stuttgart. More than a dozen police officers were injured. Many partygoers from the clientele mainly gathering in the evening and at night [...] took side against the officers in connection with a police check regarding a drug offence. Subsequently, the people moved towards the Schlossplatz and apparently also dispersed into groups in the city centre. Parked police cars were massively damaged. The vehicles were attacked with poles and posts; windows were smashed. Rioters also threw large stones and other objects at passing patrols, including cobblestones that had previously been torn out of the ground or taken from construction sites. Police officers were approached, attacked and injured in an extremely aggressive manner. More than 200 officers from the Stuttgart area had to be alerted and deployed. Many shops in the city centre have apparently been damaged indiscriminately. In particular, shop window panes were smashed or broken. Film scenes also show massive attempts to smash even heavy, large windows. Apparently in order to conceal their identity, perpetrators have also deliberately disguised themselves with balaclavas and other materials. The displays were stolen from a still undetermined number of shops. [...] Only after hours did the situation calm down.”
“According to initial findings, an assignment due to a drug offence was apparently the trigger for the subsequent riots. During the preliminary arrest of a suspect around 11:30 p.m. in the area of the upper Schlossgarten, a large number of the bystanders showed solidarity, attacked the police officers on duty and threw stones and bottles at them. Additional police forces were called in and succeeded in forcing the rioting crowd away from the intervening officers in the direction of the Schlossplatz, even with the use of direct force and pepper spray. Subsequently, other people present at the Schlossplatz showed solidarity so that several hundred people now stood against the police officers and continued to throw stones and bottles at them. Some of the rescue teams on duty were also attacked. Consequently, further police forces from surrounding police headquarters and the federal police were alerted for support, and a police helicopter also circled over the city centre at times. The rioters marched through the city centre in numerous small groups of different sizes. The situation only calmed down around 4:30 a.m. Preliminary results as of 5:00 p.m. [21 June]: 24 suspected hooligans were arrested. 19 police officers were injured; one officer was unable to continue his service due to an injury to his hand. In the area of the city centre, especially Königstrasse and Marienstrasse, 30 damaged shops and facilities have been found so far, some of which have been considerably demolished by the rioters by smashing doors and windows, including mobile phone shops, clothing stores and jewellers. In addition, the perpetrators also damaged billboards and sprayed graffitis. So far, eight shops have been identified where the rioters broke in and looted goods. According to current information, twelve patrol cars were damaged during the operation, some of them considerably. Various video sequences circulating in the social networks show how rioters hit the patrol cars with chairs and other objects, smashing the windows.”
“Of the 25 persons provisionally arrested, seven accused persons aged between 16 and 33 will be presented to the judge at the Stuttgart District Court today [22 June] with an application for an arrest warrant. Yesterday evening, the Public Prosecutor’s Office had already applied for warrants for the arrest of two other accused, aged 18 and 30, and the warrant for the 18-year-old was suspended for a period of time. The accused, who have German, Croatian, Iraqi, Portuguese and Latvian citizenship, are accused of, among other things, aggravated breach of the peace (§ 125a StGB), dangerous bodily injury (§ 224 StGB), assault on execution officers (§ 114 StGB) and theft in particularly serious cases (§ 243 StGB). A 16-year-old accused is also alleged to have deliberately kicked the head of a student already lying on the ground who had verbally criticised the riots and was then beaten up by a group of people. The public prosecutor’s office is accusing this 16-year-old of attempted manslaughter, as he had at least accepted the possible death of the student by the targeted kick against the head. For the other 16 persons provisionally arrested, the conditions for remand in custody were currently denied and the persons concerned were therefore released after the police measures were completed.”
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Actually one is speechless – and wonders how this is possible. Hundreds of teenagers and young adults respond to a legitimate police operation against a suspected drug offence with massive violence against objects and people, respecting neither other people’s property nor their right to physical integrity, completely disregarding the state’s monopoly on the use of force – full of hatred for police officers (they call them “cops”) and rescue workers. Meanwhile, there is a great deal of public reaction, comments on the course of the action, on the causes and also on the conclusions. Stuttgart is no exception. At the same time it was reported from Switzerland that the number of violent crimes committed by youths has “markedly” increased. The “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” reported on 22 June: “Last year, the number of crimes committed by minors increased throughout Switzerland. The development is particularly striking in the case of violent crimes. The brutality of some attacks is also a cause for concern. Foot-kicks to the head, stabbings, all of these are no longer rare, according to the juvenile criminal authorities.”
The logical conclusion from all this should be to put the issue at the top of the agenda, not just for a few “experts” who are declared “competent”, but for all those who are concerned about the state and future of our society.
There is no need to justify this more precisely; the facts speak for themselves. It was to be expected that, without further investigation, voices were heard in the days that followed that knew exactly what the causes were and what needed to be done. It is rather questionable whether this will serve the cause. What sense does it make, for example, when it is claimed that the outbreaks of violence in Stuttgart were caused by the corona lockdown – and that such nonsense actually is circulating in the media world? Each discipline is trying to contribute its own way of thinking. This is also a good thing. From the beginning it must be clear that such a thing is no longer tolerated. Not only among “experts” and “responsible persons”, but among all of us. •
ds. Twenty years ago, I was concerned with the fact that primary school pupils, in some way naturally, spoke among themselves of cops when it came to the police. What were they thinking? Didn’t they have schoolmates whose fathers were police officers and whom they entirely liked and appreciated as fathers of their colleagues? Normally ten or twelve-year-old pupils could never have had such bad experiences with the police. So where does this disparaging language come from? “Bash the cops flat like sandwiches!”
Since then, a few “youth revolts” have crossed the countries, the cops have become “cop bastards”, and the singer of the hate song has become an “artist”. For years, police officers and, increasingly, paramedics and firefighters have been attacked physically during their operations in some city districts. Books and numerous newspaper articles report on it.
In the night from Saturday to Sunday on 21 June 2020, “400 to 500 young people” have massively attacked the police in the city centre of Stuttgart and looted shops. At least 19 police officers were injured. The material damage is in the millions. Twelve police cars were also demolished.
According to the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” of 22 June, the starting point was the drug check of a 17-year-old youth. As a result, 200 to 300 people from the “local party scene” had shown solidarity with the youngster and attacked the officers with stones and bottles. The group had then grown to 400 to 500 people. Several videos circulating on the internet show the extent of the violence: “Young men – many of them hooded – are rioting and looting through the shopping streets. One video shows a hooded man taking a running jump into the back of a kneeling police officer. The officer falls, the audience cheers”, writes the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung”.
Stuttgart’s police president Franz Lutz speaks of an “unprecedented dimension of open violence against police officers”. He has been a police officer for 46 years. •
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