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Stop police brutality in Germany: Justice for Mohamed Idrissi

By the Justice for Mohamed Campaign

26 October, 2020

On June 18, 2020, Mr Mohamed Idrissi (54) was shot by police officers in front of his apartment in Bremen, Gröpelingen. His death is not a tragic isolated incident. Mr. Idrissi is one of over 160 black people and people of color who have been murdered by the police in Germany since 1990. We therefore see his death in connection with structural racism, police violence, the consequences of poverty and the exclusion and stigmatization of mentally ill people. With the Justice for Mohamed alliance, we demand justice and fight to clarify the circumstances of his death and to bring those responsible to account.

Mr. Idrissi had lived in Gröpelingen for many years. He suffered from many fears due to a mental illness. One of his greatest fears was to be killed. In order to protect himself from possible persecutors, he has, among other things, made the habit of cleaning his apartment thoroughly on a regular basis. On June 18, 2020, employees of the housing company ESPABAU, where Mr Idrissi had rented an apartment, came to his home. He had previously cleaned his apartment with a lot of water and the employees should examine the damage. As far as we know, ESPABAU has also terminated Mr. Idrissi without notice. Neither his home supervisor, nor the legal supervisor, nor the social psychiatric service were on site. Instead, the police were called. She tried to get Mr. Idrissi out of his apartment for a psychiatric examination against his will. To date, it is unclear on what legal basis this happened. Mr Idrissi, who saw himself and his home in danger, tried clumsily to protect himself against the attackers with a knife. The police officers escalated the situation anyway by pointing four guns at him and yelling at him aggressively.

When a police officer used pepper spray on him, Mohamed ran blindly. The officer then shot twice in the upper body. Mohamed Idrissi does not survive the police operation. Together with the relatives, we mourn their great loss.
At the same time, we share their anger and determination to break the silence and fight for justice for Mohamed. To this day, many questions remain unanswered: Why was the police there? Who gave himself the right to take Mr. Mohamed Idrissi with him against his will? Why wasn’t the social psychiatric service waited for? Where were the supervisors? How did the mission go? Why weren’t neighbors allowed to speak to him? Why wasn’t the mission abandoned when the situation escalated? Why is pepper spray targeted at a mentally ill man? How did Mohamed Idrissi die? What was and was not done to save his life after the shooting?

In order to justify the fatal shots, the authorities, politicians and the media portray Mr. Idrissi as “aggressive” and “sick” and assess the police’s action as no alternative. So he is criminalized after his death. Anyone who speaks to their family, neighbors or other residents in Gröpelingen will get a different picture. Mr. Idrissi had been a loving father. He was shy and had lived withdrawn for the last few years because of his illness. Nevertheless, he had a good relationship with his neighbors. And he loved playing with kids and making them laugh and giving sweets. We know that it does not matter what kind of person Mohamed was for the assessment of the act. But we also know that criminalizing those affected by state violence is a common means of justifying the violence.

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