Mohamed Lamine Dramé (inset) allegedly attacked the police with “a possibly suicidal intention” before he was shot with a machine pistol, according to official accounts/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia/Private

Germany: Black community to march over police killing of Senegalese boy

A protest march will be held by the Black community in Cologne on Saturday (20 August) to express its anger at the police killing of Mohamed Lamin Dramé. The 16-year-old refugee from Senegal was shot dead by a policeman on 8 August in Dortmund during an operation.

According to the protest organisers – Sonnenblumen Community Development Group e.V., N-Wort Stoppen, KiTma e.V., Immigration Deutsch (ImmD) e.V. and ISD Köln – the Saturday event is to honour the memory of Mohamed and protest against police brutality.

“We do not accept such an act of violence against members of marginalised groups by state power!” the organisers said. “We demand justice and mourn a person who came to Germany in hope for justice and peace.”

Mohamed, an unaccompanied minor refugee from Senegal who barely understood German, was housed in a youth residential facility in Dortmund’s Nordstadt. Days before his fatal encounter with the police, he had sought in-patient treatment due to psychological problems, according to news reports.

On the fateful day, the police had been invited by a social worker at the hostel where the African boy lived because he exhibited suicidal behaviour, according to the public prosecutor. He was said to have held a knife and expressed his intention to end his life.

All entreaties to Mohamed by the eleven law-enforcers called to the scene to drop his knife failed, according to the official accounts, which was why one of the officers, a 29-year-old policeman, had to fire five shots at the Senegalese as he made to attack them. The fatally injured African was thereafter taken to hospital where he gave up the ghost. None of the police officers was injured during the operation. These accounts are yet to be corroborated by independent eye-witnesses.

The Cologne protest organisers believe that shooting the boy with a machine pistol was unnecessary as possible danger to the police officers had already been averted with the use of tasers and irritant gas on the deceased.

“We demand a complete and comprehensive investigation and an independent expert opinion” on the tragic incident, the Black organisations said. They asked for an explanation as to why the police with excessive force and why the operation was not carried out with psychologically trained staff, among other questions.

The Black organisations said that the killing of Mohamed was not an isolated case as four male persons of colour had died in the hands of the police in August 2022 alone.

The protest march will commence at 4pm from the Neumarktplatz Köln (am Neumarkt).

A funeral prayer ceremony was held on on Friday in Dortmund which was followed by a big demonstration at the Friedensplatz in the city. About 500 people attended the memorial service in the mosque. Dortmund was “deeply saddened”, said Mayor Thomas Westphal (SPD) in the courtyard of the Abu Bakr mosque. Apart from a few heckling voices, it remained quiet during the remarks. The mood among those present was characterised more by mourning, less by anger or frustration, according to a reporter who covered the event.

The mayor of Dortmund recalled the sense of togetherness in the city: “We have to stand together now”, even if he knew that after the incident on Monday “some had lost confidence”. At the same time, the head of the city recalled the “difficult fate” in which the young man who had been killed had found himself.

The imam of the Dortmund-based Association for the Development of African Culture, Abduramane Djaló, said the prayer for the deceased in Arabic. He appealed to those responsible in politics to “do everything to ensure that the truth comes to light and justice is done”. The guilty must be “punished justly”.

Many organisations have also expressed their horror at the killing of Mohamed and called on the police to carry out thorough investigations into the incident and do justice to the victim. The Central Council of Muslims in Germany has called for a “complete clarification” of the tragic incident. “We expect full clarification for the sake of justice and peace in the city,” demanded Chairman Aiman Mazyek in Cologne. “Despite grief and also anger, however, there must be no pre-judgement of the police and we all wait for the results of the investigation first.”

Felix Dappah

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