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Neo-Nazi acquitted after driving into leftists

The Local · 13 Jul 2012, 11:53

Published: 13 Jul 2012 11:53 GMT+02:00

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The incident happened last October at a neo-Nazi event in Riegel am Rande in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg.

The 29-year-old accused was sitting in his car in a car park when he was approached by a group of left-wing extremists, who had their faces covered. The neo-Nazi reacted by starting the ignition and driving into them at speed, hitting a 22-year-old.

The young man suffered a severe head injury and haemorrhaging, and continues to suffer from a speech impediment and motor dysfunctions.

But a Freiburg court acquitted the neo-Nazi of all charges, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday. The judge ruled that he had acted in self-defence while trying to escape, and that the prosecution had failed to prove that he was deliberately trying to harm anyone.

"Justice is not biased," the judge said in her closing statements, adding that the trial had not been about political views, but whether a crime had been committed. She argued that the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" also applied to neo-Nazis.

The state is now obliged to pay damages to the neo-Nazi for taking away his driving license following the incident.

A court press statement said that the left-wing activists could easily have got out of the car's way, and that although the accused could have taken another route to avoid a collision, the judge could not rule out that he had panicked and not noticed this alternative.

The court also disregarded the prosecution's evidence that the accused had posted a message on Facebook shortly before the incident, saying that he would love to be in a situation where he could "get" a leftist.

Story continues below…

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:14 July 13, 2012 by freechoice
there are Germans crossing the roads everyday in the middle of the road while the traffic is green, i usually slow down just to avoid hitting them. why should one accelerates when you see one in front of you?
13:57 July 13, 2012 by C Robert
The sympathizer judge put the criminal case to its final. But in Civil libel court victim must clam large sum of money.
14:27 July 13, 2012 by Floriansamsel
These day, I get more and more the impression that:

the more "just" the judge, the queerer the sentence.

Someone who drives straight into a group of people on purpose is not innocent. A car against pedestrians - Mrs. Judge, show me the principle of proportionality in this case!
14:56 July 13, 2012 by Bigfoot76
Scary to think of the possibilities.
16:02 July 13, 2012 by xapplex
If you were sitting in your car by yourself and a group of five masked individuals were approaching you, what would you do? Wait until they hit YOU? The 22-year-old could have easily avoided injury had he not jumped on the car in an attempt to stop it, the court has found.

16:29 July 13, 2012 by Tony2u
Wasn't reversing an option? This reminds me of the old insurance commercial where the captain of an expensive yacht reports to the owner that they have lost steering control while attempting to dock. The nonplussed owner responds by saying: Aim for the cheapest one!
19:12 July 13, 2012 by PNWDev

Yes, clearly you are the only one that read the article. Five guys walking up to you with masks on are not coming to share their lunch. When you start something, you live with the consequences of your actions.
20:10 July 13, 2012 by realist1961
It's an interesting observation by the Judge. She thought the man was in danger when masked "extremists" walked up to his car. She must have thought his fear was reasonable. Let's hope the Judge doesn't read The Local and find out that she is to also fear old German ladies.
21:08 July 13, 2012 by henry1544
With the extreme history of violence, mayhem and murder that the left side in Germany has on it's conciousness, I understand why the man acted as he did.

Imagine being an immigrant, and five neo nazis, with baccalavas and maybe even having baseball bats or rocks in their hands approach your car. The nazis know full well how scary that must be for the person they target. The same goes for this situation in this article.

If someone threatens you, and people be sure, this WAS a real and dangerous threat, you have the right to defend yourself. Or have we become such pussies that we defend the intruder/aggressor/violator? What about HIS rights, right? You know what, f*** his rights. He got what he deserved. Now he cannot threaten anyone anymore.
22:18 July 13, 2012 by Bigfoot76
That is an interesting perspective. This neo nazi MAY have known his life was in danger because he MAY have put other peoples lives in danger with his extremist group.

A good rule to point out here is this, do not use violence to get your political points across and CERTAINLY do not do it 5 Vs 1. It is also VITALLY important that if you ignore the first two rules you follow this one....do not try to fight someone driving a car.
02:24 July 14, 2012 by wood artist
From the brief account in this story, it's unclear if the group did anything more than "approach" the car. If that's accurate, it seems like his reaction might have been excessive. Unless they were swinging baseball bats or something, he would likely have the "drive off" option at any point, and could easily remain sitting and ignore them. If they started "attacking the car" then he certainly could flee, and if someone got hurt it there would be little question of his innocence.

Sounds like he did just enough to create questionable doubt, which is the correct legal ruling. It may or may not be the truth.

09:06 July 14, 2012 by henry1544
@ Wood artist

"From the brief account in this story, it's unclear if the group did anything more than "approach" the car."

From the article:

"The 29-year-old accused was sitting in his car in a car park when he was approached by a group of left-wing extremists, who had their faces covered."

I think that sums up any uncertainty.

@ Bigfoot76

"This neo nazi MAY have known his life was in danger because he MAY have put other peoples lives in danger with his extremist group."

How is sitting in your car causing danger to other people? Are we not innocent until proven guilty, or have we travelled back to the middle ages where you have to prove your innocence? And how is guilt by association enough to loose your rights? Your line of thought is a dangerous one to continue, for all of us. Because the government can classify almost anyone as "extremists" or "dangerous", if it fits their agenda.
09:14 July 14, 2012 by Bigfoot76
Henry I am sorry CAPS to emphasize the MAY is the largest I can type. I do not think I can make it any larger for you to see. Maybe i need to repeat it for you. MAY MAY Does that help you? I am sorry you missed the meaning of my post. Perhaps you need glasses if you can not see MAY in the sentence. It suggests possibilities not guilt not innocence. It is not just a Month on a Calendar sir.
12:02 July 14, 2012 by wood artist

My point is exactly what you've pointed out. "...sitting in his care when he was approached...."

What does that really mean? If I'm sitting in my car and a group of people are walking up the sidewalk, or even the street pavement should I be concerned? I have no idea. I have seen people who seem "different" in some way, but that doesn't automatically mean I'm in fear of my life. I might lock the door, but other than that, absent weapons they're not likely to cause much more than superficial damage...and I could, if necessary, still drive off. Yup, I might hurt one of them in doing so, but that would be legitimate.

"Approaching" doesn't really mean much, even if they're wearing hoodies or hiding their faces. After all, if he's a neo-nazi he's certainly familiar with that look. I've seen it almost every time I'm in Germany. To me it looks a bit dumb, but I'm not automatically "scared." In fact the only time I've been "approached" happened at the Hauptbahnhof in Köln...by Communists no less.

In short, it's really unclear whether he was actually in any danger. He might, however, have been projecting his own ideas into the situation.

23:18 July 15, 2012 by wenddiver
Accident or Public Service, sometimes it's hard for the courts to tell.
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