Dr Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, member of the European Parliament, MEP, has criticised Germany’s Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, for stopping the planned investigation into racial profiling in the country’s police services.
In a press statement issued on Wednesday, Ms Herzberger-Fofana, who represents Germany on the platform of the Green party in the European parliament, said Seehofer by his decision “denies the existence of structural racism within the police”.
The MEP said the minister’s decision was hard to understand because the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) had recommended in its latest report that Germany should carry out such a study.
“The Minister’s statement came on the same day that the Council of Europe’s Anti-Racism Commission urged its member governments to take decisive action against racism and racial profiling,” she sadly noted.
Dr Herzberger-Fofana, who had a widely-reported encounter with the Belgian police in June, said it was sad to note that Germany’s interior ministry agreed to carry out the study only to turn around to declare such an investigation unnecessary while worldwide protests against police violence were taking place.
“It appears that the Interior Minister assumes that civil society will stop paying attention to the issue of racism and racial profiling as soon as the momentum of the Black Lives Matter protests has weakened. This is not the case, because society has just developed a new awareness of this issue and is monitoring political decisions accordingly,” she added.
“During its last plenary session on 18 June 2020, the European Parliament issued a resolution calling on the Member States to develop policies and measures to combat discrimination and to end racial profiling in all forms. This requirement applies to all EU member states, including Germany,” the MEP said.
She said a study into racial profiling in policing was necessary because “I have received complaints from affected people of African descent for years”.
“In the past few weeks, the number of complaints from affected people – who wrote to me – has increased dramatically. Therefore, the explosiveness of this topic is still topical. Specific data would clarify this.”
Dr Herzberger-Fofana herself had an experience of police brutality in Belgium on 17 June. She alleged that police officers “brutally pushed [her] against a wall and violently took [her] handbag” as she attempted to film a police control of two Black teenagers at the Brussels North train station. The MEP subsequently filed a complaint against the police only for the Brussels prosecutors to issue a criminal complaint against her for defamation as well as for “acting rebelliously and insulting police officers”.