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CRIME

Attacks on police rise dramatically

The number of attacks on German police officers rose drastically last year, according to figures released Saturday by the federal police authority in Potsdam.

Attacks on police rise dramatically
Photo: DPA

The number of police officers who were the victims of attack rose by 58 percent from 985 in 2008 to 1,555 in 2009, the police authority revealed. The number of attackers also rose significantly to 1,228, an increase of 65 percent.

This is the most offenders since the relevant statistics were first collected in 2000. In the last three years, the number has always stayed been 700 and 800.

The number of injured policemen saw a particularly large increase, with 462 injured – 130 percent more than 2008. Reports say that most of the attacks occurred on Fridays and Saturdays, with attackers frequently under the influence of alcohol. Only a quarter of the attackers were caught.

The head of the police union (GdP) Konrad Freiberg told news magazine Der Spiegel, “Police are increasingly becoming the target for people releasing their frustration and hate.”

On Friday, the upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, put its weight behind a law proposal to increase punishments for attacking police. The law, proposed by the representatives of Bavaria and Saxony, would increase the maximum punishment to three years’ imprisonment. A punishment of five years’ imprisonment is being proposed for attacks using “dangerous weapons.”

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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