Germany torn over launching study of racial profiling by police

Germany’s Interior Ministry, which oversees federal police, initially consented to the idea, but a ministry spokesman backtracked on Monday.

“So-called racial profiling isn’t permitted. This is taught during the initial and ongoing training, and it doesn’t happen,” the spokesman, Steve Alter, told reporters in Berlin.


Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wanted to first await a study on “extremist and racist tendencies” among public servants being compiled by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency before considering whether further steps were necessary, Alter said.

Riot police arrest a demonstrator as they evacuated a park in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district on May 1, 2020, during May Day protests amid the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Germany’s justice minister, Christine Lambrecht, said late Monday that the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance’s recommendation to study racial profiling in policing was “right and important, in order to get the latest facts.”

“It’s my view that we shouldn’t refrain from the study that was initially planned,” Lambrecht said, adding that she would continue steadily to press her case with Seehofer.

Debates about racial profiling and the broader issue of systemic racism in Germany have now been amplified by the global protests that followed the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man, in the United States. A White police officer pressed his knee contrary to the 46-year-old Floyd’s neck for pretty much 10 minutes.

The Associated Press contributed to the report.

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