Bonn. After the anti Semitic attack in the Hofgarten, a companion of the visiting professor appears to describe a different course of events. A police officer is also said to have been injured.
The anti Semitic attack in July on the Jewish professor Yitzhak Melamed and the subsequent police attack on him after a mix-up caused international headlines. Police had knocked him to the ground in the Hofgarten and hit him after mistaking the victim for the perpetrator. A 20-year-old man with Palestinian roots, who allegedly knocked the Jewish kippah from Melamed’s head, initially escaped.
Police commissioner Ursula Brohl-Sowa, immediately apologised. The investigations in this case have now apparently brought several contradictions to light. Cologne police and the Bonn public prosecutor’s office are investigating four of the seven police officers involved in the operation for causing bodily harm.
The Bonn lawyer, Christoph Arnold, is representing one of the police officers. Arnold told the GA that the description of events given by the professor differed in part from that of a university employee who accompanied the visiting professor to the Hofgarten on 11 July. “According to her statement, none of the officers tried to dissuade Professor Melamed from making a complaint against the police.”
Melamed stated his position after the attack. An hour and a half had been spent dissuading him from bringing a complaint. The professor also said that he had been hit dozens of times without fighting back. Some media reports wrote of up to 80 punches.
Melamed wishes to comment on the matter once again
Arnold is familiar with the interrogation records and, in his view, this is not backed up by any of the previous witness statements. The incident did not last long enough “to carry out such a number of punches,” says Arnold. The police officers involved in the incident described the situation differently. They wanted to overpower and hold Melamed, but the man resisted. He bent the wrist of one police officers in a painful way. The officer called out: “Let go of my hand.”
And when this did not happen, the policeman gave him a few blows in quick succession, said Arnold. “I also wonder why the police headquarters, as employer, did not indicate in its press release at the time that the police officer had been injured,” said Arnold. Following a medical examination, he was initially unfit for duty. The Bonn public prosecutor’s office, as the highest investigating authority, does not comment on ongoing investigations, explained public prosecutor Sebastian Buß.
Two witnesses, who contacted the GA after the incident, described a thoroughly brutal attack. One of them observed how one of the police officers rushed to his colleagues’ aid and aimed a blow at the professor, who was lying on the ground, which the witness felt was unnecessary.
The GA was told Melamed was not available. However, he is said to have expressed the wish to comment on the matter once again.
Original text: Philipp Königs. Translation: kc