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Defendant in court: “Nobody wanted what happened”

Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa

In the trial over the fatal shooting of a teenager in Dortmund's Nordstadt, officials described their view of the fatal operation in Dortmund for the first time.

There are two plainclothes police officers who were present during the operation but have not been charged.

As witnesses before the Dortmund Regional Court, they unanimously reported that their accused colleagues had fired the pepper spray, the Taser and finally the submachine gun without any clear warning or clear threat.

Previously, several minutes of attempts to contact Mouhamed Dramé, who was leaning motionless against a wall and pointing a knife at his stomach, had failed.

The 16-year-old Dramé from Senegal was shot dead in a police operation on August 8, 2022 on the premises of a youth welfare facility.

Employees had previously called the police.

The two officers, aged 30 and 31, on the witness stand were civilians during the operation.

According to the description, the 30-year-old plainclothes police officer spoke to the 16-year-old several times in Spanish and approached him to make eye contact.

However, Dramé showed no emotion.

Finally the witness withdrew because pepper spray was about to be sprayed.

When Dramé moved quickly from the niche in which he was leaning towards the officers, the Taser and, as a direct result, several shots from the submachine gun were fired.

Neither of them could see whether and how the young person held the knife during the movement.

"I haven't come to any conclusion as to how it could have been solved differently," said the 31-year-old plainclothes police officer when asked how he assessed the operation in retrospect.

Both witnesses said their focus was on eliminating the threat the knife posed to everyone involved.

“It was only when we found it that the situation was out of danger for me,” said the 30-year-old.

He stated that he had gone over the events again and again since then - including in discussions with the defendants.

"I don't think any of us are doing well," he said.

Everyone is “uncomfortable” with what is happening.

"Nobody wanted what happened."

The death of the minor caused outrage nationwide and sparked a debate about the proportionality of police resources.

In the trial, which has been running since the end of 2023, the public prosecutor's office is accusing the shooter of manslaughter.

Four other police officers are charged with grievous bodily harm, and their operations manager is charged with inciting this.

The trial will continue next Wednesday with the hearing of other police officers involved.