A new report by Amnesty International has pointed to a growing trend of German police brutality directed at foreigners living in Germany.
The organization checked complaints filed against the German police from January 1992 to march 1995, and found that Berlin police officers were responsible for more than half of the cases of maltreatment.
The report, publicized Tuesday, said the organization was “concerned” by a growing number of “beating, stepping and other forms of violence” that had caused damaged teeth, bleeding and broken bones.
A group of police officers concerned about abuses welcomed the report, calling it “the tip of the iceberg.”
Further, foreigners who were subject to police mistreatment were prevented during their period of arraignment from contacting relatives, or to see a doctor, the report found. Police refused to accept complaints by the victims on their maltreatment.
In at least two cases, the injuries were so severe that the treatment amounted to torture, Amnesty said.
Even in cases in which official legal proceedings had been launched against police officers, only one in 20 ended with a sentence against the officer in question, according to the report.
“The identical testimonies and the regularity of the complaints led us to the consequence that it was not a matter of single events,” Michael Butler of the international secretariat of Amnesty International said at a news conference Tuesday in Bonn.
He said the findings were “particularly alarming” in the face of the growing number of anti-foreigner and racist incidents that have plagued Germany since its reunification in 1990.
“At a period when aliens living in Germany particularly need the protection of police,” Butler said in the report, they have been confronted instead with police officers’ fists, boots and clubs.