The court came down on the side of 23-year-old Teresa Z. on Tuesday, who was arrested after fighting with her boyfriend on a night out in January. She had called the police for help but was arrested and left a police cell with a broken nose and eye socket.
Officer in question, identified only as 33-year-old Frank W., will now spend 10 months behind bars for bodily harm and will pay a fine of €3,000, Der Spiegel news magazine reported.
The judge decided that the officer should have noticed sooner that Teresa Z. was badly injured but instead took his time as he was “annoyed” that she had spat at him.
“It must have been a relatively hard punch,” said a forensic medic working on the case.
Der Spiegel reported that while in court, the policeman apparently acted throughout the hearing as if he presumed the law would fall on his side.
Yet things did not work out how he expected and the court heard how four officers restrained the woman on a bench, her hands still cuffed behind her back. The woman resisted and spat in the face of Frank W. who later said he saw her head move as if she was about to headbutt him.
He then punched her in the face in what he said was “self-defence.” Teresa Z.’s lawyers always claimed this was use of “excessive force”.
Police then left the bleeding and handcuffed woman alone in the cell until a doctor arrived. She was later taken to hospital.
Officers claimed she had taken speed and ecstasy while out in the Au district of Munich with her boyfriend. Teresa Z. said this was false, and that she had taken just two drags on a joint.
The case has gained widespread attention in the German media, with the young women being held up as an example of police brutality.