The 16-year-old Senegalese national reportedly attacked one of the police, prompting one officer to respond by shooting the young male five times.
Following the death of the teenager, protests took place in the city on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the DPA news outlet.
The police patrol was called on Monday by an employee of a children’s home in Dortmund, who reported she had seen one of the residents armed with a knife. Eleven police officers arrived on scene, but the youth refused to drop the knife. The officers deployed pepper spray and utilized a taser against the minor, but these non-lethal methods failed. The young man attacked the officers and refused to give the knife up. During the resulting struggle, one of the police officers fired an MP5 machine gun at the teen, hitting him five times, according to Czech news outlet Novinky.
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The perpetrator had already received three deportation orders
Public prosecutor Carsten Dombert says the case still has many uncertainties. According to Dombert, the 16-year-old Senegalese was being treated for psychological problems and did not speak German well. Investigators are also considering the possibility that the young man wanted to harm himself with the knife, or commit suicide.
There is no indication, according to Dombert, that the color of the young man’s skin played any role in the police’s actions.
Hundreds of people demonstrated in Dortmund on Wednesday for an independent investigation into the incident.
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The German lawyers’ association (DAV) have complained that the police from the nearby town of Recklinghausen are investigating the case, and not an independent body.
Germany’s migrant crisis has also resulted in a severe burden to the country’s mental health system. Many migrants have psychological problems, which in the past has led to serious assaults and even murders. At the same time, German authorities have often been eager to assign mental health to cases involving suspected jihadist attacks, such as a stabbing spree that left three women dead in Würzburg and the vehicle ramming attacks that killed motorcyclists in Berlin.
German police rarely use firearms compared to many countries, as Deutsche Welle has reported. In 2020, German police officers used their service weapons 159 times, 49 of which were warning shots. They shot 15 people and injured 41.