A new law being proposed in the municipality of Berlin would make civil servants who are accused of racism guilty unless they can prove themselves to be innocent.
The law is being put forward by the Senator for Justice of the State of Berlin, Dirk Behrendt of the Greens party. Representatives of the German police are objecting to it, saying that it would turn officers into “fair game,” according to a report by Die Welt.
Jörn Badendick, the Vice Chairman of Germany’s police union, voiced his objections. He provided an illustration of the sort of trouble police would encounter if the law were to be passed. He pointed out that, since the majority of Berlin’s illicit drug dealers are black, the dealers would only need to accuse officers of racism when they try to control them in order to derail the entire process.
The stated purpose of the law is to make it easier for migrants and minorities to defend themselves if they feel they have been victimised by racial discrimination or harassment by civil servants, including police officers. The bill includes a so-called “presumption rule,” which says that the burden of refuting an allegation falls upon the accused.
“This is an absolute insult towards our emergency services,” said Hans-Jürgen Kirstein, the Chairman of the police union for Baden-Württemberg. “We will ask the Ministry of the Interior to stop sending our personnel to Berlin.”
Michael Stübgen, the Minister of the Interior for Brandenburg, also said that the law would be tantamount to a reversal of the burden of proof to the detriment of first responders.
The ruling coalition in Berlin’s city government, which includes the Greens, is standing by the proposal despite these criticisms, however, claiming that it is only about protecting minorities from discrimination. They are further accusing those who oppose it of distorting the facts about the law. All of the opposition parties in Berlin’s Senate are against it, however.
Berlin’s police frequently clash with the city’s migrant communities, who often specifically target law enforcement and emergency services personnel, as previously reported by Voice of Europe.