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Armed SWAT unit storm wrong flat
Photo: DPA

Armed SWAT unit storm wrong flat

Published: 28 Oct 2012 10:10 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Oct 2012 10:10 GMT+01:00

Armed police gave a German family a nasty shock when they stormed the wrong house in the middle of the night, training weapons on the bewildered inhabitants. Two women are receiving treatment for shock, it was reported at the weekend.

Three law-abiding tenants at a flat in Rollhausen, near Göttingen, Lower Saxony thought they were being burgled when a SWAT police unit forced their way into their flat in the early morning hours of Friday morning.

The masked officers burst into the couple's bedroom and pointed their guns at them, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday.

“They tied me up with cable binders,” a male resident told NDR broadcaster, “I cried out in pain.”

Only then did the unit - who had been searching for a 45-year old man who had earlier threatened another man with a weapon - ask for the startled tenant's name.

When it quickly became clear they had made an error, the policemen apologized to the couple and left. Later it emerged the unit had got the wrong floor of the block of flats, with police explaining there had been a mix up in communication.

“The SWAT unit got the wrong flat. We were thwarted by an error in internal communication. We have already apologized,” Otto Moneke, head of the police department in Duderstadt told NDR.

Although police will repair damage caused when they broke in, a woman and her 19-year-old daughter – both of whom are now in therapy - say they were traumatized by the incident and have contracted a lawyer to explore their case for further compensation from the authorities.

DPA/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:45 October 28, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Did they train at the same academy as the bomb disposal experts who made a controlled detonation with straw?
13:11 October 28, 2012 by pepsionice
The thing is....German courts typically limit the damage payment in cases like this. The mother and daughter might each get 100k Euro, but that's about all they could get. Both, however, could turn around and show the damage done to their mental state, and demand a full pension for the rest of their lives. I admit it won't amount to a huge amount of money, but that's the best you could get out of this deal.

The judge who gave the search warrant? He ought to be forced to go with the cops each time from this point on out.
15:27 October 28, 2012 by lucksi
100k? In Germany? BWAHAHAHA, never.

But hey, they got released a hell of a lot faster than when US SWAT raids the wrong house. And nobody got shot, not even some dogs.
22:57 October 28, 2012 by bobmarchiano
searching for a 45-year old man who had earlier threatened another man with a weapon

all you need to do is threaten someone and a swat team comes after you sounds like there is more to the story.

Damages YA good luck with that they said they were sorry
23:25 October 28, 2012 by Ruhetag
Simply saying "Sorry" in Germany will reverse all damages.

So no need to sue anyone.
09:39 October 29, 2012 by wood artist
Heck. In the US you'd have to sue just to get an apology, and then if the police accepted any responsibility, they'd send a carpenter around who would drive a couple nails into what's left of the door and call it even.

It's almost funny how a "terrorist attack" like this is just a "simple mistake" and shouldn't be considered a Big Deal by the victims. If it's a crime when committed by a civilian, it's just as much a crime when committed by authorities. It's not "just a mistake."

wa
10:17 October 29, 2012 by JDee
the first floor, that would be the e.g., the 2nd floor, that is 1.OG, the 3rd floor... that's the D.G and the 4th floor that the Obere DG.. etc.. well from my experience of trying to understand German conventions on these things ( and the left/right designations which are also mixed up in my house ) it is no surprise, better just to just rationalise the system, 1st floor = 1 etc...
15:26 October 30, 2012 by LecteurX
@ JDee. It's not just "German conventions", it's actually the whole of Europe (even the UK) that agrees on this. Maybe the only thing that unites the whole continent, come to think of it.

In the UK, they have a "ground floor" and then anything above it is "1st floor", "2nd floor", etc. This is exactly the same thing in Germany, France, Spain, etc. Only the hotels where I have been in Sweden seem to follow the American rule, strangely, although they have a word in Swedish for "ground floor". So why do you need to "rationalise" (understand, "Americanise") something that works well for around 500 million people around the whole continent?

Then I think you got a little bit mixed up with the DG and all that. DG just means "Dachgeschoss", ie the top-floor (literally, "roof-floor"). It's the top floor of any building, no matter how many storeys high. "Oberes DG", if there were such a thing, would just be the roof I guess :-)
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