Police officer: it was complete chaos

Sebastian martin when there is a clash between security staff and residents in block 7 of the anchor center, a 38-year-old police officer is still sitting with his colleague in the desk of the bamberg police station in schildstrabe. A short time later, he has to be taken by ambulance from the refugee facility to the hospital.

In the anchor center he was hit on the head by an object. He had a blow spurt, he told the juvenile chamber of the regional court. Which object it was exactly, he no longer knows. Only that: "it rattled, then I collapsed." He suffered a needle contusion, was brought to safety by other police officers holding shields over their heads for protection.

Before that, the 38-year-old and his colleague had been alerted from the writing room. Together with other colleagues, they were supposed to reinforce the police officers in the anchor center in order to get the riots there under control. The public prosecutor’s office holds four eritreans responsible for this. They are on trial for dangerous bodily harm and particularly serious arson.

Stick, stones, kettle

In the night of 11. December 2018 allegedly escalated a dispute between the defendants and security guards over ruhestorung, which is why the police were called. A 35-year-old police chief, who was among the first on the scene, says that objects flew: sticks, stones, a kettle. The "storer" are said to have thrown these objects down from the stairwell and in front of the building at police officers, some of whom were only equipped with riot gear and helmets. Also a police video from the night exists.

An object hit the 38-year-old, who had rushed to the front of the house to join his colleagues without a helmet. Inside, the defendants allegedly raged, destroying the windows in the staircase. The 38-year-old is said to have been injured by a purposefully thrown stick – it was probably a two-kilogram roll of aluminum foil.

"I was really scared to death for myself and my colleagues", a head of the bamberger police department testifies in court. The "storer were repeatedly asked to come out of the building peacefully. But that did not happen. Also a "mediator on the part of the residents, the rioters were said to have failed to gain understanding.

In the meantime, the police asked the security staff, one of whom is also said to have sprayed a fire extinguisher at the rioters, to leave the building.

Planned attack not possible

The officers had formed a chain of ten to twelve men in front of the building. But a planned raid was not feasible, the risk of going into the stairwell was too high, according to the service group leader. Because the patrol officers had never had to deal with such a situation before.

According to the head of the service group, more and more patrols were alerted during the night. Officers from as far away as forchheim, gerolzhofen and schweinfurt had rushed to the anchor center to reinforce the bamberger city and country police as well as the traffic police, a total of about 35 patrols. The police also used pepper spray, but this is said not to have worked. Other residents were probably also intimidated by the violence of the rioters: "some did not dare to leave the house."

In a traffic circle near the building, the police set up a prisoner collection point. The officer in charge says there was "complete chaos" at first ruled. One by one, people were brought to the traffic circle by security and police, some of them already tied up.

After fire broke out in the first-floor apartment, allegedly set by the defendants, and the fire alarm went off, the last resisters apparently came out of the building as well. A total of 15 people are said to have suffered fume poisoning. According to the manager of the anchor center, the total damage amounts to 135 500 euro.

The trial continues today.

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