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Acquittal in Cologne: Exterior view of the Regional Court

Photo: Oliver Berg / dpa

The Cologne Regional Court has acquitted five police officers of the charge of joint bodily harm in office. The five officers had been accused in the trial of kicking and punching a 2021-year-old man without justification during a police operation in April 59.

With the acquittals, the court followed the motions of the defense lawyers. The public prosecutor's office had demanded suspended sentences of more than a year against two officers who, in their view, were the main perpetrators. That would have meant removal from duty for these two officials.

»Deployment legal«

"The officers are not responsible for the injuries of the injured party because the operation was legal," said the presiding judge at the pronouncement of the verdict in the criminal trial.

The men, aged between 25 and 42, had been accused by the public prosecutor's office of having brought a drunk 2021-year-old to the ground, beaten and kicked a drunk 59-year-old in April <> without any police or criminal basis. Previously, the man had "mobbed" the officers on the sidelines of an operation, as it was said in the verdict.

Less than two months after the mission, the 59-year-old died. A forensic medical report had not established a causal connection between the police operation and the man's death. The rib fracture suffered, in combination with significant pre-existing conditions, had favored death. Thus, this could not be attributed to the officials, explained the Cologne Regional Court.

Only one official was found guilty of betrayal of official secrets and warned by the court. He is said to have passed on unauthorized information from the police computer to third parties. The court reserved a fine of 2800 euros. The judgment is not legally binding, an appeal to the Federal Court of Justice is possible.