Driving in Berlin’s “problem district” Neukölln is apparently just as hazardous as swimming there, as previously reported in the Daily Caller. This time, the “unpleasant incident” reported by Germany’s Focus newsmagazine was “especially bizarre,” amidst Neukölln’s high crime rate, given that the victims of a road rage assault were police officers. The incident has once again turned German public attention again to issues of Muslim immigrant crime as well as police protection.
The official Berlin police press release online recounted that a patrol car slowly drove southward along Neukölln’s Karl-Marx-Straße in the right lane on August 29, 2013. The Berliner Morgenpost (BM) later reported a female police officer, a colleague, and a training officer riding in the car. Trying to find a reported traffic accident site, the car finally stopped double-parked before a shopping center near the intersection with Flughafenstraße. A BMW then drew alongside in the left lane whose driver shouted through an open window to the stopped police officers that they should drive faster. The BMW thereafter drove in front of the patrol car and stopped, allowing the BMW’s two occupants to exit.
The 26-year old driver and his 19-year old companion approached the officers and a fight ensued. The 33-year old female officer received a punch in the face. The female officer followed the pair back to their BMW and opened the driver’s door in order to command them not to flee. Before driving away, the driver closed his door, hitting the woman’s shoulder in the process.
About 70 people, described by the Berliner Zeitung (BZ) as of Turkish and Arab background, watched the incident but offered the officers no aid. Indeed, BZ reported that shop owners closed their doors and filmed and photographed the event with their cell phones. The perpetrators Bahadi Ö. and his younger brother Ilyas likewise were members of a Turkish family from northeast Anatolia, Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel reported.
The press release related that supporting police forces subsequently stopped the “rabid” men and gathered identity information. They now face charges of bodily injury, resistance against an enforcement official, and coercion in street traffic. The female officer complained of pains on her head and shoulder, but did not need medical treatment.
Described by a Die Welt writer as “unbelievable,” the Neukölln incident occurred in a context of increasing attacks on German police officers nationwide. A report by Germany’s equivalent of the FBI, the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt or BKA), available to Die Welt earlier in August claimed 60,294 officers were assaulted in 2012, an increase of 9.9% compared to the previous year. Among Germany’s provinces, the Berlin city-state is the leader in this area, with 95.3 cases per every 100,000 inhabitants. Berlin itself began collecting statistics on resistance to officers in 2011, reporting an increase in 2012 of 7% to 4,476 incidents.