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POLICE

Man attacks pool party crowd with pepper spray

At least 11 people were injured in Bavaria on Saturday night, as a man apparently launched a pepper spray attack at a pool party.

Man attacks pool party crowd with pepper spray
An outdoor pool in Berlin. Picture: DPA

Visitors to Saturday's 90s-themed party in the village of Burgsinn were promised a night of fun and games, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung.

However, the party came to an abrupt halt when a man began filling the air with pepper spray – leaving at least 11 people with painful eye injuries.

According to police, those injured in the attack were taken to hospital for treatment before giving witness statements.

However, confusion about the night's events was rife – and the victims' accounts were far from conclusive.

Police initially narrowed the search down to two suspects – and announced on Sunday evening that a 21-year-old man was being questioned over the assault.

Witnesses were unable to say whether the man intentionally sprayed the gas, or the canister simply burst due to the heat in his hand.

Some witnesses reported that the man appeared to be drunk.                                                     

Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

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POLICE

German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.

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