Berlin criminal police raid on socio-educational youth residential group

With this statement, the Kinder- und Jugendhilfe-Verbund Berlin / Brandenburg (KJHV central) makes public an assault by the Berlin criminal police on their socio-educational youth residential group for unaccompanied minor refugees.

In the early morning of 09 May 2018, the security unit of the Berlin police forcefully gained access to our socio-educational youth residential group for unaccompanied minor refugees on the basis of a search warrant (ordered on 20 December 2017 to find evidence, in particular a purse and an ID card). There were disproportionate and illegal actions, as well as mistreatment of the adolescents and young adults. As a result of the abuse, two of the juveniles, to whose rooms the security unit illegally gained access, had to be treated in the hospital and one of them underwent surgery and was hospitalized for three nights. In addition, there was considerable damage to property, as a result of which the youth residential group was briefly uninhabitable.

We would like to use this statement to describe the above-mentioned assault from the perspective of the youth, young adults and caregivers:

In connection with investigations into a criminal offense, a search warrant was available for the room of the minor who had been placed in juvenile care. The Criminal Investigation Department informed the responsible reference caregiver and guardian of the upcoming search on April 19, 2018, and was very cooperative. The reference counselor explained the layout of the premises to the officer and informed her that there were other juveniles living in the apartment and that it was a residential youth care facility where juveniles reside without night services. The officer assured that only the room of the juvenile in question and the common areas would be searched. The guardian pointed out that the youth is a minor and a guardian has legal representation. She asked the officer if the guardian needed to be present during the room search. The question remained unanswered. The officer also made a phone call to the guardian.

On Wednesday, May 09, 2018, at about 07:15, the security unit gained access to the youth’s apartment. At that time, the three teenage residents were asleep in their rooms, and two rooms were unoccupied and locked by the carrier. The guardian and the reference caregiver were not informed. The apartment door was kicked in without prior ringing and the security unit gained access to all rooms with the help of several teams.

Startled by the noise, one of the teenagers – for whose room there was no search warrant – woke up and opened the room door. He was frightened and locked his door out of fear. Three to four officers wordlessly gained access to the room, threw the youth to the floor, beat his back and shoulders with batons, and twisted his arm. He was dragged into the hallway and an emergency medical technician attended to him a short time later. The juvenile asked the officers what he had done. The officer said that it was his own fault if he lived with […] (name of accused juvenile). The teenager was treated at the hospital, X-rayed and discharged the same day with hematomas and pain. As a result of the assault, the young adult is so far psychologically unable to return to the apartment, but had to be accommodated by the provider in another form of housing, which is also supervised at night. He has since complained increasingly of sleep disturbances and anxiety. The idea of being alone in a room frightens him, and the sight of men in combat fatigues has accompanied him constantly ever since. In addition, he expressed that since this incident he had lost faith in the police. A few weeks before the assault, the adolescent had left the current placement after two years of care there and was psychologically stable enough to be able to transfer to the youth shared apartment without night care. 15 minutes of police violence have thus destroyed two years of youth welfare and therapeutic work.

Three officers simultaneously entered the room of a second juvenile, for which there was also no search warrant. They pulled him out of bed and hurled him into the adjacent closet with a glass door. The glass door shattered and the teen suffered several deep cuts on his arm that bled profusely. He was turned onto his stomach and handcuffed. Afterwards, the officers asked him for his name. He told them his name and date of birth and pointed to his ID card on the table. The officers released the handcuffs, treated the heavily bleeding wounds and called the emergency services. He was immediately transported to the hospital. There, the three deep cuts had to be treated immediately. The largest of the cuts is about 15 cm long. The teenager underwent two surgeries to remove several pieces of glass from his arm. He was hospitalized for three nights and needs follow-up care until now. The teenager will bear clearly visible traces of the assault. To this day, it is not clear to the adolescent why he was subjected to such massive violence.

The youth affected by the search warrant was wordlessly thrown to the floor by the officers in his room, fixed on his back and dragged into the next room. He suffered two abrasions to the head. The juvenile was cooperative and did not resist the officers.

The counselors were called by the youths at about 08:13 and asked for help because they were beaten up by the police. At that time, the police had not contacted the guardian, the caregivers or us as the youth welfare agency.

We strongly condemn the actions of the security unit and call on the Berlin police, the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family and all relevant authorities to clarify the incident as soon as possible and to take legal action against those responsible for the operation, as well as to prevent disproportionate and racist attacks within youth welfare through police operations. We also call on the responsible operational management to apologize to the abused youths and to compensate them for the physical and psychological damage, as well as to pay for the considerable damage to property.

Contact person for queries:
Mareike Rüggeberg
Area Manager Work with Refugees
Tel.: 030 – 613 90 719