BERLIN – Stuttgart police weigh questionable step

Following riots that took place in Stuttgart on 21 June, which involved around 500 people and saw the police pelted with stones and glass, the city’s police chief announced that the department is considering a controversial new step in the investigation.

According to reporting from Stuttgarter Zeitung over the weekend, the chief of police wants to investigate and publish the family origins of suspected rioters with German passports, an idea that was quickly criticised.

The state’s data protection commissioner, Stefan Brink, was not convinced of the plan, saying that “from our point of view, a legal basis for such investigations is not apparent.”

Some Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens wondered how this will help the investigation and also claimed it may further fuel discrimination against people with a so-called “migration background” (German: ‘Migrationshintergrund).

“How many generations does one have to live in Stuttgart so as to be recognised as a citizen of this city?” Green city councillor Marcel Roth asked, while National SPD co-chair Saskia Esken tweeted “this disturbs me deeply.” 

The move comes at a time when racism and racial profiling within Germany’s police force is a frequent topic of discussion.

Last week, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) said he does not see the need for an investigation into racial profiling by police, though SPD Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht later claimed that she would still like to move forward with the study.

(Sarah Lawton | EURACTIV.de

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