Proceedings after attack stopped

Jewish professor criticises Bonn police

Am Hofgarten ist der israelische Professor zunächst Opfer eines antisemitischen Angriffs und anschließend einer Verwechslung durch die Polizei geworden.

The Israeli professor was first the victim of an antisemitic attack in the Hofgarten and then of mistaken identity by the police.

Bonn. Following the attack on the Israeli visiting professor Jitzchak Jochanan Melamed at the Hofgarten in Bonn, the public prosecutor’s office has halted investigations against four police officers. Melamed has sharply criticised the suspension of the investigations.

In the end, “mistake,” was the key term in the investigation proceedings following the attack on a Jewish professor and an unsuccessful police operation last summer. As reported on Saturday, the Bonn public prosecutor’s office has halted the investigations into the four police officers involved in the operation. The police officers had mistaken Professor Jitzchak Jochanan Melamed, who teaches in the US, for the attacker and overpowered him. He had then accused them of hitting him dozens of times. As he had defended himself against the police, he was also investigated – the public prosecutor’s office has now also stopped these proceedings. Investigations continue into the actual attacker.

“Both possible punishable acts were largely based on a mistake,” said Sebastian Buß, spokesperson for the public prosecutor’s office, summing up the findings.

Melamed sharply criticised the halting of the investigations. “My only reaction is that you unfortunately have a racist and corrupt police system,” said the philosophy professor, who teaches in the US, on Tuesday.

Melamed, who was in Bonn for a lecture visit, had misjudged the situation when he assumed officers had intervened against him illegally, said the public prosecutor’s office. The situation further escalated when he actively defended himself, so that the academic was also investigated on suspicion of resisting enforcement officers. According to Buß, however, the police officers “acted within the scope of their powers” and were therefore justified under police law.

Investigations are continuing against the man who attacked Melamed. The 21-year-old German with Palestinian roots is currently in custody – but not because of his attack against Melamed, whose kippah he knocked off his head in the Hofgarten.

Huge interest nationally

The incident in the Hofgarten briefly became a national political issue. International media reported on it and Bonn’s Lord Mayor spontaneously brought forward the “Day of the Kippah” planned for November, in which 2000 people took part as a sign of solidarity with Jews. Police commissioner Ursula Brohl-Sowa apologised to Melamed and the NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul also phoned the victim.

(Original text: Rüdiger Franz. Translation: kc)