Police hunt suspects who beat up firefighters at New Year

Police in a Lower Saxony are searching for suspects who allegedly attacked and beat up firefighters as they tried to respond to an emergency over New Year.

Police hunt suspects who beat up firefighters at New Year
Photo: Salzgitter police.

A volunteer fire brigade in the district of Thiede, Salzgitter was alerted shortly after midnight New Year’s Eve to a vegetation fire and designated members rushed to get to their equipment room, according to a post on their Facebook page.

But some revellers had decided to celebrate the New Year in the driveway to the fire station. When they saw the firemen approaching, rather than clear off the entrance, they started throwing firecrackers at them. 

Other volunteer firefighters, who happened to be celebrating New Year nearby, saw the anarchy and tried to get the revellers to move off the driveway.

But the partiers became aggressive and started to attack the two volunteers – aged 28 and 33 – who had asked them to leave.

The volunteer unit said that even as one of the firefighters was lying on the ground injured, they still kicked him. One person said “Oh, he is still alive.”

The brigade said that the two had to be hospitalized with broken bones and knocked out teeth. The 33-year-old suffered a broken ankle, police said.

Police are already investigating one 21-year-old, who denies the accusations, and also say up to three others could be under suspicion. On Tuesday police released a sketch of one of the suspects and are asking for help to locate him.

He is described as being between 35 and 40 years old, between 165cm and 170cm tall and having a slim, fit body. His hair is gray, short and styled. At the time of the attack, he was wearing a black suit, white shirt and black dress shoes.

The Thiede volunteer brigade said that they hoped their comrades would get well soon.

“We have often suffered and accepted verbal and physical attacks, but this is now over,” the brigade wrote.
“When comrades of the fire station in Thiede must pay with their health in order to work for others, a breaking point has been reached.”
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas submitted a draft bill shortly before Christmas that would seek to more harshly punish those who attack police and rescue workers.


Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

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In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

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